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Traffic Armageddon Is Here: Expressway Lanes To Be Closed For Construction

By Kelly Bauer | August 19, 2015 8:39am | Updated on August 20, 2015 8:48am
 Lanes on the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways will be closed as part of construction on the Jane Byrne Interchange during the coming weekends.
Lanes on the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways will be closed as part of construction on the Jane Byrne Interchange during the coming weekends.
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Tim Boyle/Getty Images

CHICAGO — Downtown drivers, the traffic apocalypse is nigh.

Lanes on the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways will be closed as part of construction on the Jane Byrne Interchange during the coming weekends. All of the closures are dependent on the weather and might be rescheduled if it rains, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The closures:

Wednesday to Aug. 31

• The inbound Kennedy ramp to inbound Congress Parkway will be closed. Drivers will be detoured to the Roosevelt Road exit, Jefferson Street, Harrison Street and then Wells Street to connect with Congress.

Veteran traffic reporter Bart Shore discusses some alternates:

Friday to Sunday and Aug. 28-30

• Inbound Congress will close at 10 p.m. Fridays. Drivers will be detoured to the outbound Dan Ryan's Roosevelt Road exit, Jefferson Street, Harrison Street and then Wells Street to connect with Congress.

• The outbound Eisenhower will close by 5 a.m. Saturdays. Drivers will be detoured to Wells Street, Harrison Street, Jefferson Street, Van Buren Street and then Ashland Avenue to connect with the Eisenhower. Lower Wacker Drive will follow the same detour.

• Both directions of the Kennedy and Dan Ryan between Ohio Street and 18th Street will be reduced to one lane at 8 p.m. Saturdays, with all the lanes closed for 15-minute intervals from 10 p.m. Saturdays to 7 a.m. Sundays. All of the lanes will be reopened by 10 a.m. Sundays. Drivers can take a detour to the outbound Eisenhower's Ashland Avenue exit and entrance ramps to access the Kennedy and Dan Ryan from the inbound Eisenhower.

• All of the lanes on Congress Parkway will reopen and traffic will return to normal by 5 a.m. Mondays.

Sept. 25-27 and Oct. 16-18

• The outbound Eisenhower will close at 10 p.m. Fridays. Drivers will be detoured to Wells Street, Harrison Street, Jefferson Street, Van Buren Street and Ashland Avenue to connect with the Eisenhower.

• The inbound Kennedy between Ohio Street and the Eisenhower will be reduced to one lane at 8 p.m. Saturdays, with all the lanes closed for 15-minute intervals from 10 p.m. Saturdays to 7 a.m. Sundays. The lanes will be reopened by 8 a.m. Sundays. Drivers can take a detour to the outbound Eisenhower's Ashland Avenue exit and entrance ramps to access the Dan Ryan from the inbound Eisenhower.

• All of the lanes on Congress Parkway will reopen and traffic will return to normal by 5 a.m. Mondays.

Why the construction?

The lane closures are part of construction on a flyover ramp that will connect the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower expressways.

The flyover will replace a single-lane ramp with a two-lane ramp and bridge that starts south of Roosevelt Road and connects to the outbound Eisenhower Expressway near Morgan Street, according to IDOT. The flyover will be about 1 mile long.

The flyover is part of the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction project, which "will relieve congestion at one of the country's worst bottlenecks," according to IDOT. The interchange is used by about 400,000 drivers each day, according to IDOT, and the project is estimated to cost $420 million.

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