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Halsted Street Bridge Reopens After 2-Year Reconstruction

By Joe Ward | July 22, 2016 12:33pm
 Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn talks about the Jane Byrne Interchange project at the opening of the Halsted Street bridge over the Eisenhower Expy.
Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn talks about the Jane Byrne Interchange project at the opening of the Halsted Street bridge over the Eisenhower Expy.
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DNAinfo/Joe Ward

NEAR WEST SIDE — With work complete on the Halsted Street bridge, crews for the Illinois Department of Transportation now can focus on widening the Eisenhower Expy. as part of the Jane Byrne Interchange overhaul.

State and city officials announced Friday that work has been completed on the Halsted bridge, just north of Harrison Street and south of Van Buren Street. The new bridge includes two new lanes of traffic, two bike lanes, widened sidewalks and safety features for pedestrians, IDOT officials said Friday.

"It gives people who live and work in the area options for how to travel," said Randy Blankenhorn, state Transportation secretary. "We're making this a much more attractive area to live, work and play."

Though the bridge has been open for about two months, crews just finalized putting a canopy over it to provide pedestrians cover when leaving the UIC-Halsted Blue Line stop that connects to it. A stoplight was installed on the canopy that will caution drivers when pedestrians are trying to cross the street.

The Halsted Street Bridge that crosses over the Eisenhower Expy. includes a roofed canopy and a stoplight that activates when pedestrians press the street-crossing button. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

The old bridge was 70 years old when it was torn down in March 2014, having outlived its usefulness, Blankenhorn said. But the bridge also needed to be widened to accommodate the soon-to-be expanded Eisenhower, he said. 

With the Halsted Street bridge completed, IDOT has finished the first phase of the $420 million Byrne Interchange overhaul, said Anthony Quigley, engineer of project implementation for IDOT.

The first phase consisted of replacing the bridges spanning the Eisenhower, including new bridges at Morgan Street, Peoria Avenue, Halsted Street, Harrison Street and Taylor Street, he said.

Crews now will focus on expanding the Eisenhower, officials said. That work is expected to begin in the fall, Quigley said.

After that, IDOT will turn to improving the Dan Ryan Expy. where it enters the Downtown interchange, Quigley said. Before the expressway can be improved, crews will replace bridges on Van Buren Street, Adams Street, Jackson Street and Monroe Street.

The project aims to open up one of the country’s worst bottlenecks at the point where Congress Parkway intersects with the Kennedy, Eisenhower and Dan Ryan expressways and sees about 400,000 vehicles daily, according to IDOT. 

The entire Byrne Interchange project should be completed by 2021, officials said.

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