Chicago Motorists Brace to Brake

April 02, 2010

If it’s Spring in Chicago, it’s also road-construction season. Here’s a heads-up on projects about to start around the Chicago area so you can prepare, reroute and enjoy the ride.

Eisenhower Expressway


Plan for extra commuting time if you take the Eisenhower expressway this Spring.

Projected Start: April 1

What’s Planned: This resurfacing project will cover approximately 27 miles along Interstate 290 from Thorndale Avenue to Interstate 90/94, and Interstate 355 from Army Trail Road to Interstate 290. In other words, construction will take place in both directions. Throughout the project there will be ramp closures as well as permanent and frequent lane closures, and traffic will eventually be reduced to one lane.

Estimated Cost: $95 million

Projected End: October 31, 2010

Visit: www.dot.state.il.us for more information and alternate route ideas.

Congress Parkway Bridge

Start: April 1

What: Built in 1956, the Congress Parkway Bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River hasn’t been upgraded since 1981. It is one of the busiest bridges in Illinois, yet it recently received a safety rating of 9 points out of a possible 100. Heavy trucks have already been banned from crossing. IDOT will rehab the existing bridge in two stages, which will reduce the four inbound and four outbound lanes to two and one, respectively.

Cost: $33 million

End: December 2012

Visit: www.dot.state.il.us

Congress Parkway Streetscape

Start: April 2010

What: Congress Parkway will be updated from Wells Street to Michigan Avenue to improve and beautify conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. One-lane closures will be inevitable throughout the duration of the project.

Cost: $10 to $20 million

End: Spring 2012

Visit: www.dot.state.il.us

Wacker Drive Reconstruction

Start: Spring 2010

What: This “Revive Wacker Drive” project will rebuild Upper and Lower Wacker Drive from Congress to Randolph Street. Lower Wacker will be reduced to one lane, Upper Wacker will be closed at different intervals during the project, and all exits and entrances to and from Congress and Franklin will see closures. The city is hoping to make this area safer after more than 1,000 crashes occurred on both levels of Wacker Drive between 2006 and 2008.

Cost: $366 million

End: Fall 2012

Visit: www.wackerdrive.org

Edens Spur

Start: June 1

What: The Spur is a five-mile stretch of highway that connects the Tri-State tollway to the Edens expressway between Lake Cook Road and Dundee Road. Seven bridges will also be rehabilitated. Traffic will be reduced to one lane.

Cost: $20 million

End: December 2010

Visit: www.illinoistollway.com

Thank goodness for GPS systems, huh? If you aren’t interested in alternate routing it, then check out the options for public transportation.

Metra: www.metrarail.com

CTA: www.transitchicago.com

Pace: www.pacebus.com

To keep tabs on all the Illinois Department of Transportation projects, including progress and lane closures, check out www.dot.state.il.us.

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