WEST LOOP — Residents who live near the Circle Interchange continue to oppose a project to relieve congestion around the expressway hub, despite modifications to the plans.
The project would help open up one of the country’s worst bottlenecks at the point where Congress Parkway intersects with the Kennedy, Eisenhower and Dan Ryan expressways, the Illinois Department of Transportation says.
Major changes to the plan include shifting the aboveground ramp over Halsted and reinstating access to the Taylor Street exit from the southbound lanes of the expressway.
At a community meeting April 4, many Green Street Loft condo owners were concerned about the flyover ramp that would extend above Halsted, virtually on top of the condos at 400 S. Green St.
“What happens after the trucks leave, and there’s this ramp over Halsted?” 10-year Green Street Loft resident Jennifer Powers asked.
Many at that meeting wore buttons in support of an alternative proposal to divert traffic under Halsted. Since that first community meeting, several Green Street Loft residents have created an online petition against the aboveground Halsted ramp and have collected 874 signatures.
But Michael Eichten, who was on a design team that created different versions of the proposal, said tunneling under Halsted wouldn’t work for several reasons, including an underground run-in with the Blue Line "L" and dangerous speeds and limited sight lines for traffic.
“As much as we tried to thread a needle through here, we just couldn’t,” Eichten said of an underground ramp.
IDOT’s most recent proposal includes moving that ramp about another 6 feet, making it 26 feet feet away from the Green Street condos. In addition, residents have voted to implement a wall that would block noise during construction.
Powers said ultimately, though it isn’t ideal, the Green Street Loft condo owners would side with whatever IDOT’s final decision may be.
“We still would love for them to go with [the underground ramp], but if they move forward with [the modified flyover ramp], I think that our building has been satisfied with the negotiations with IDOT,” she said.