Summer construction season: What to expect on area expressways

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This week, WGN’s Sarah Jindra is talking to the region’s top transportation officials about the slowdowns commuters can expect on the roads and rails this summer and beyond.  The head of IDOT didn’t participate in our series, however we were able to sit down with the Engineer of Project Implementation, Steve Travia, and he gave us a good look at what to watch for on the roads.

Here’s a look at the major projects to watch for:

Cumberland Flyover

IDOT crews are building a new flyover bridge to take traffic from EB I-90 (Jane Addams Tollway) to Cumberland. It will travel over I-190 and over the CTA Blue Line. The goal is to enhance safety and reduce congestion for drivers where EB I-190 and EB I-90 merge.  Construction began in November 2016 and is scheduled to be done in Fall 2018.


IB Kennedy Auxiliary Lane

IDOT is currently adding a right lane to the IB side of the Kennedy between Cumberland and Harlem to improve traffic flow. During the work, drivers can expect narrowed lanes and lane shifts, but no daytime lane closures.  The new right lane will be open and ready by the end of the year.


Jane Byrne Interchange

The Jane Byrne Interchange (or “circle” interchange) is where traffic from the Kennedy, the Eisenhower and the Dan Ryan all meet.  Construction is underway on a multi-year project to rebuild the interchange.

Late last year, crews opened the new northwest flyover ramp taking traffic from the NB Dan Ryan to WB I-290. Currently, only one lane of traffic gets by on the ramp.  By the end of this year, crews will open up a second lane on the ramp.

This year, IDOT is working to rebuild the pavement on I-290 where the flyover touches down.  There will ultimately be five lanes of traffic in that spot; only three lanes of traffic are open at this time.  Work on WB Congress will be done by the end of 2018.  Also at the end of 2018, crews will be able to re-open the ramp from the NB Dan Ryan to Congress. In the coming years, IDOT will begin work on the EB side of Congress.

Crews will also continue work on nearby bridges as part of the interchange project. To date, they have completed work at Morgan, Peoria, Harrison, Halsted and Taylor. Construction on the Monroe and Van Buren bridges is expected to start by the end of the year.  Start dates are pending for the Jackson and Adams bridges.

The full project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2021.



IDOT is reconstructing six bridges at the I-55/Lakeshore Drive interchange. By the end of the summer, crews will be done with all OB work (NB LSD to SB I-55 and SB LSD to SB I-55) and by the end of the year, crews will be done with all IB work (NB I-55 to NB LSD and NB I-55 to SB LSD).


I-55 Resurfacing

IDOT is resurfacing I-55 this year from Weber Rd to Willow Springs Rd.  The majority of lane closures will occur in the overnight hours, when drivers can expect significant delays. Drivers can also expect weekend lane closures. The project will be done by the end of the year.

NB I-57/Dan Ryan Lane Closure

The left lane is closed from NB I-57 at Halsted to NB Dan Ryan at 95th St.  The closure is in place for the construction of the new CTA Red Line 95th St. Station.  The lane closure will continue through the end fo the year.

Edens Pace Bus On Shoulder

Construction has begun to allow Pace buses to ride the shoulder of the Edens Expressway to pass traffic.  Crews will  When done, buses will be allowed to operate on the outside shoulder between Foster and Lake Cook Rd.  Drivers can expect nighttime lane closures until the project is completed this Fall.

I-55 Managed Lane Project

IDOT is currently studying the best way to accommodate building traffic volumes on I-55 between I-355 and the Dan Ryan. It’s preferred alternative is to create a managed lane, where driver’s could pay to drive in the lane.



IDOT is currently studying how to improve transportation along I-290 from Mannheim to Racine.  There are currently four alternatives being researched, including adding a general purpose lane, adding a high occupancy vehicle lane, adding a high occupancy toll lane or a tolling alternative for all lanes. The study is scheduled for completion this summer.