What drivers need to know about Kennedy highway construction ahead of ‘major travel delays’


Commuting to Chicago starting next week will be very different for some.

That’s as construction begins on a 7.5-mile section of the busy Kennedy Expressway, a year-long project that will see lane closures and traffic impacts through 2025.

Transportation authorities are already asking commuters to adjust their working hours to travel during off-peak hours, work remotely if possible, or use alternative modes of transportation to limit the impact on driving times. but the message is clear: Expect delays.

This construction could impact both public transportation and inbound and outbound commuting.

Here’s what you should know:

Where will the construction take place and for how long?

Overall, work will take place in three phases lasting three “construction seasons” and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2025.

Here’s what the Illinois Department of Transportation expects:

Stage I – Inbound Kennedy

2 lanes on the main line will be closed at the same time. To minimize the impact on traffic, The reversible express lane remains open in the inbound direction and drivers cannot exit the express lane until Armitage Avenue.Lane shifts and nighttime lane closures will be required in addition to various ramp closures to complete the work.. Later this summer, painting and new LED lighting installation will begin at Inbound Hubbard’s Cavern between Ohio and Lake streets. Construction is expected to be completed this fall, when all lanes and ramps will be reopened and express lanes will resume normal operation.

Stage II – Reversible Express Lanes

Reversible fast lanes will be closed to accommodate the REVLAC system and bridge structural repairs and pavement patching. Additionally, highway closures will be required to accommodate. Painting and installing new LED lighting on both sides of Hubbard’s Cavern between Ohio and Lake streetsConstruction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2024 and be completed in the fall of 2024.

Stage III – Outbound Kennedy

The reversible express lanes remain open in the outbound direction, but the mainline outbound lanes are closed two at a time. Completing the work will require lane shifts and nighttime lane closures in addition to various ramp closures. Additionally, new LED lighting installation and painting will be completed at Outbound His Hubbard’s Cavern between Ohio and Lake streets. Construction will begin in spring 2025 and is expected to be completed in late fall 2025.

When do lane closures begin?

The first lane closures will begin Monday at 10pm.

“People driving on Tuesday morning will see those two left lanes closed to inbound traffic,” said IDOT Construction Director John Schumacher. “For the rest of the year, Rivers will be in a permanent inbound configuration 24/7.” And about a week after that, the full 7.5-mile leg will be staged. That’s part of when Kennedy was built, and that’s the section built in this era that was programmed to do that. ”

The first step is simply to “lay out your work zone”.

“The work will include setting up a work zone initially and gradually reducing the inbound Kennedy’s 7.5-mile range to two lanes,” IDOT said in a release. “The crew will set up the barrier from Edens Junction south to Ohio Street. The process will run from 10 p.m. Expected. Location.”

What is Complete Timeline?

Which areas will be most affected?

This year’s work will focus on inbound construction, which will result in many delays, but the express lane will remain in the inbound direction for the rest of the year, so outbound commuters will also see additional traffic. .

Public transport could also see ridership growth, although some agencies are already anticipating and increasing their presence.

What can I take instead?

IDOT officials urged drivers to adjust their schedules or find alternative modes of transportation during construction.

“Find an alternative route, take the Metra, take the CTA,” Schumacher said. “We also recommend that you consider staggering your work hours, so if you can start a few hours earlier, you might avoid the worst rush hour traffic jams. A lot of people have been able to work remotely, and if there are people who can work remotely, it also helps to minimize the impact on traffic.”

Metra announced this week that it will be rescheduling the UP Northwest Line starting April 3, adding 12 trains to its weekday service line-up.

“Metra is monitoring passenger numbers and customer feedback, and these schedule changes are responsive to passenger trends and will increase capacity and convenience by expanding peak and off-peak service. “Metra CEO and Executive Director Jim Darwinski said in a statement. “And with a major multi-year rehabilitation project slated to begin on the Kennedy Freeway, this new schedule will enable Metra to offer more commuters a viable and less stressful alternative to driving. increase.”

IDOT also suggests commuters leave earlier and use highways to commute, but notes that it could be a process of trial and error.

“Find the route that works best for you,” said Schumacher. “And it won’t happen… The first route you take on Tuesday morning may not be the best route. See what works. It affects.”

Why is this kind of construction taking place?

The estimated $150 million project includes “rehabilitation of 36 bridge structures and Reversible Lane Access Control (REVLAC) systems, replacement of overhead signage structures, installation of new signage and modernized LED lighting, and pavement patching.” and structural paint. According to IDOT, Hubbard’s Cavern from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street will also be painted and will have new LED lighting installed.


What do you think?

Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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