What You Need to Know – NBC Chicago

Starting Monday night, traveling in and out of Chicago will look very different for many travelers for quite some time.

Work on a heavily traveled 7.5-mile stretch of the Kennedy Expressway is scheduled to begin Monday night at 10 p.m., marking the start of a years-long project that is scheduled to run through the fall of 2025.

The project will entail lane closures and a significant impact on traffic, so transportation authorities are suggesting workers adjust their schedules, work remotely if possible, or find alternative methods of transportation.

The works are likely to affect both public transport and commuting to and from work.

This is what you need to know:


The works will be carried out in three phases that will last for three “construction seasons”, with an expected completion date in autumn 2025. Even so, those responsible insisted that the calendar “depends on weather conditions” and could be subject to change.

Here’s what the Illinois Department of Transportation says to expect:

Stage I – Entrance to Kennedy

Two entry lanes will be closed at a time. To help minimize the impact on traffic, the reversible lanes will remain open in the direction of entry and motorists will not be able to exit the express lanes to Armitage Avenue. Lane changes and lane closures overnight, along with multiple ramp closures will be necessary to complete the job.

Later this summer, painting and installation of new LED lighting will begin at Hubbard’s Cave, between Ohio and Lake streets. The works are expected to be completed by the end of autumn, with the reopening of all lanes and ramps and the resumption of normal operation of the express lanes.

Phase II – Reversible Express Lanes

The reversible express lanes will be closed to accommodate the rehabilitation of the REVLAC system and bridge structures, along with pavement patching. In addition, major lanes will need to be closed for painting and new LED lighting installed in both directions of Hubbard’s Cave between Ohio and Lake streets. The works are expected to begin in the spring of 2024 and end in the fall of the same year.

Phase III – Kennedy Exit

The reversible express lanes will remain open in the exit direction, while two main exit lanes will be closed at the same time. Lane changes and lane closures overnight, along with several ramp closures will be necessary to complete the job. In addition, the new paint and LED lighting installation will be completed in Hubbard’s Cave, between Ohio and Lake streets. Works are expected to start in spring 2025 and end in late fall 2025.


The first lane closures will start at 10 pm on Monday.

“So Tuesday morning … the motoring public is going to see these two left-hand lanes closed at the entrance,” IDOT Construction Office Chief Jon Schumacher said. “Investments will be in the input configuration permanently 24/7 for the rest of the year.” And starting about a week after that the full seven and a half miles will be staged. It’s just that that’s the part of Kennedy that when it was built, that’s the section that was built at this time that it was scheduled to be built.”

The initial steps will simply be to put “the work zone in place”.

“The work initially consists of establishing the work zone and gradually reducing the 7.5-mile stretch of incoming Kennedy to two through lanes,” IDOT said in a statement. “Crews will put up barriers starting at the Edens intersection moving south to Ohio Street. This process is scheduled to take place each night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning and is expected to take approximately one week to complete. that the work zone is in place.”



Although this year’s work will be focused on the inbound direction, causing numerous delays, outbound users can also expect some additional traffic as the express lanes will remain in the inbound direction for the remainder of the year. .

Ridership of public transport is also likely to increase, although some agencies are already increasing their presence in anticipation.


IDOT officials urged drivers to adjust their schedules or find alternate modes of transportation during construction.

“Find alternate routes, take Metra, take CTA,” Schumacher said. “We’ve also recommended that people look at maybe staggering their work hours. So if they could start a couple of hours earlier, they could avoid the worst of rush hour traffic. And likewise, coming out of the pandemic, a lot of people was able to work remotely. So if some people are able to work remotely, that will also help us minimize some of the traffic impacts that we’re going to see.”

Metra announced this week that it was revising its schedule on the UP Northwest Line beginning April 3 to add 12 trains to its weekday service line.

“Metra has been monitoring ridership as well as customer feedback, and these schedule changes respond to ridership trends and increase capacity and comfort through extended peak period as well as after-hours service. point,” Metra CEO and Chief Executive Officer Jim Derwinski said in a statement. “And with a major multi-year rehabilitation project scheduled to begin on the Kennedy Expressway, this new schedule allows Metra to offer more commuters a viable and far less stressful alternative to driving.”

IDOT has also suggested travelers leave earlier and use arterial roads for their commute, though they noted that it may be a trial-and-error process.

“You just have to find the route that works best for you,” said Schumacher. “And it’s not going to be… the first route you take on Tuesday morning might not be the best one. Keep trying different alternatives and see what works for you based on your travel time and your destination and that should help minimize its impacts.”


The project, estimated at $150 million, includes “the rehabilitation of 36 bridge structures and the Reversible Lane Access Control (REVLAC) system, the replacement of aerial signaling structures, the installation of new signaling and modernized LED lighting, pavement patching and structural painting.” Hubbard’s Cave, from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street, will also be painted and new LED lighting installed, IDOT said.