Second weekend of Kennedy closures begins tonight

What’s left of the old Ontario Street Bridge will be torn down and removed this weekend.

This time, the construction will effect the outbound side of the Kennedy Expressway.

Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, the westbound Kennedy will be closed from Grand Avenue to Ogden Avenue.

Beginning at Congress Parkway, WB I-90/94 will be reduced to two lanes. Diverted traffic will exit at EB Ohio Street to Orleans Street and loop back to WB I-90/94.

The intersection at Orleans Street will be reconfigured and restricted to allow for free-flow movements.

  • Passenger cars using the Dan Ryan Expressway may exit at 35th Street, head west over to Ashland Avenue then north to I-90/94 as an alternate route.
  • The Ontario Street feeder ramp will be closed.
  • Outbound entrance ramps from Jackson Boulevard to Randolph Street will be closed.
  • Lake Shore Drive remains open in both directions.
  • I-55 and I-290 can be utilized by motorists traveling from the South and West sides of the city.

The Kennedy is expected to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday.

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This project is a $16.5 million improvement to the Ontario Street entrance onto the Kennedy Expressway as part of the Ohio Street interchange project. This structure will be replaced with a three-span, steel-girder structure over I-90/94 and a single-span, steel-girder structure over EB I-90/94 to the EB Ohio Street exit ramp. It also involves the extension and deck beam replacement of the westbound Ontario Street to westbound I-90/94 ramp tunnel structure. Other minor work includes the construction of a retaining wall along westbound Ontario Street to the eastbound I-90/94 ramp, drainage improvements and new roadway lighting under the tunnel structure.

Motorists can expect significant delays and backups and should seek alternate routes. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to flaggers, watch for signing in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits, and be on the alert for workers and equipment. Mass transit is strongly encouraged. Large trucks and 18-wheel trucks should stay on the expressway system, in the right lane and will not be allowed to take the local traffic alternates on arterial streets of the city.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications will strategically deploy traffic control aides at key points and during major events to assist with traffic flow. Additionally, the city has issued a moratorium on construction projects on arterial streets that may be utilized by motorists as alternate routes.

The Chicago Transit Authority will have increased rail service and has suspended its Your New Blue construction project over the next three weekends to accommodate increased ridership. The CTA is adding extra rail service and longer trains to its busiest rail routes to allow more customers a quick, convenient and affordable commute to and from downtown.

The CTA will also add bus service on some routes to accommodate more passengers, and will reroute two buses to help avoid congested areas.

CTA is also encouraging the use of its Park and Ride lots along each of its eight rail lines, including three lots along the inbound Kennedy at Rosemont, Cumberland and Harlem, serving the Blue Line to and from downtown.

Metra will have increased cars and crews available to meet increased demand as well. Metra offers discounted ticketing on weekends with its $7 Weekend Pass, which covers unlimited rides on both Saturday and Sunday. Additional buses will run from Ogilvie and Union stations to downtown Chicago.

Bicyclists are also urged to be aware that there will be additional traffic on arterial streets, and like motorists, are encouraged to plan accordingly.

Detour routes, alternate routes and information about this project can be found at http://www.dot.il.gov/KennedyatOhio/detour.html

To view a snapshot of the bridge demolition, updated every five minutes, visit www.travelmidwest.com/lmiga/camera?type=snapshot&id=IL-IDOT-KE01A.

For the latest updates on the impact to traffic, visit www.travelmidwest.com.

Both the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra have increased service and capacity to accommodate additional passengers this weekend. Please visit www.transitchicago.com and www.metrarail.com for information on public transportation.

1 Comment

  • Sedra

    Get all of the nerds in Chiraq and make them tear down this overpass with their own hands and little hammers. Boy, I’d pay to see that. Actual work by wimps.

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