RIVER WEST — Planned renovations to the busy Ohio Feeder ramp on the Kennedy Expressway this month could mean big headaches for freeway commuters as well as for residents of nearby neighborhoods, including River West and the West Loop.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is planning to demolish and remove portions of the Ohio Street ramp in three phases, resulting in closures and lane reversals from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday every weekend in June.
The concrete interchange ramp, constructed in 1959, needs to be replaced "based on its age and condition," according to IDOT.
An IDOT announcement shared by Ald. Brendan Reilly's (42nd) office included ominous warnings that "motorists can expect significant delays and back-ups."
"Travelers are strongly encouraged to utilize public transportation if possible," the alderman's announcement read. "All are advised to use alternate routes during the demolition."
Weather permitting, the planned closure dates are:
- June 13-15: closure of eastbound I-90/94 and the reversible lanes
- June 20-22: closure of westbound I-90/94 and the reversible lanes
- June 27-29: closure of eastbound I-90/94 exit to Ohio Street
During construction, traffic for one mile northwest of the ramp will be rerouted to either the eastbound or westbound through-lanes of I-90/94, and one direction of traffic will be reduced to two lanes, rerouting drivers away from the bridge.
Traffic will be detoured from several entrance ramps during various stages of construction, including from the Jackson Boulevard and Adams, Madison and Randolph Street on ramps.
Surrounding streets including Ontario, Erie, LaSalle and Clark streets will likely see a heavy increase in traffic: all are identified as suggested alternatives. Ohio and Orleans streets have been tapped as main detours for the three weekends of construction.
Weather could delay the repair schedule. Backup weekend dates are July 18, July 25 and Aug. 8.
More changes could be in store for the expressway soon.
Earlier this year, state officials proposed a $43-million plan to widen I-90 and reduce the number of entrances.
A few weeks prior, IDOT and State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) battled over whether the speed limit should be raised on all Downtown expressways, including the Kennedy.