If you’ve been driving the Kennedy Expressway into Chicago from the north or northwest Suburbs lately, you may have noticed some extra traffic due to construction and lane closures.
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, another lane closure is expected to go into effect soon, potentially creating more traffic headaches for motorists.
Additional lane closures will be at the Diversey Avenue exit in the express lanes, beginning May 15, IDOT said.
“To accommodate bridge work on Diversey Avenue, the reversible express lanes exit at Diversey Avenue will be closed for approximately eight weeks” said a release from IDOT. “During that time, the express lanes will remain open in the inbound direction and motorists will not be able to exit them until Ohio Street.”
“Drivers should continue to expect lane shifts and overnight lane closures, along with various ramp closures,” the alert continued. “Major travel delays are expected.”
Where In Kennedy Does Construction Take Place?
According to IDOT, the entire project will take approximately seven miles of the Kennedy Expressway (Intestate 90/94), from the Edens Expressway Junction (Interstate 94) to the Ohio Street exit.
In addition, work is also planned for Hubbard’s Cave — the tunnel under which Hubbard Street crosses the Kennedy Expressway — from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street.
Which Lanes Will Be Blocked and When?
IDOT said the project will take place in three phases, with the first phase beginning March 20.
Stage 1: Inbound Lane, Spring 2023 Through Fall 2023
The first phase of construction will affect inbound Kennedy, with “two major inbound lanes closed simultaneously.”
“Motorists should expect lane shifts and overnight lane closures, along with various ramp closures,” said a release from IDOT.
A press release from the agency went on to say that the reversible express lanes will remain open in the inbound direction “to help minimize traffic impact.”
During the summer months, the inbound tunnel under which Hubbard Street crosses the Kennedy Expressway will also be affected.
“Later this summer, painting and installation of new LED lighting will begin on the incoming Hubbard’s Cave between Ohio and Lake Streets,” IDOT said.
According to officials, stage 1 projects are expected to be completed by the fall of 2023, with “all lanes and ramps reopening and express lanes resuming normal operations.”
Stage 2: Express Lane, Spring 2024 Through Fall 2024
IDOT said the second phase of the project will deal with reversible express lanes.
According to the release, next year, the express lanes will be closed to accommodate the rehabilitation of the Reversible Lane Access Control System known as REVLAC.
“In addition, main line closures will be required to accommodate painting and the installation of new LED lighting in both directions of Hubbard’s Cave, between Ohio and Lake streets,” IDOT said.
According to officials, stage 2 projects are expected to begin in the spring of 2024, and be completed in the fall of 2024.
Stage 3: Outbound Kennedy, Spring 2025 Through Late Fall 2025
The third phase of construction, IDOT said, will address the exit lanes of the Kennedy Expressway.
According to the release, two mainline outbound lanes will be closed simultaneously, with lane shifts, overnight lane closures, and various ramp closures. However, “reversible express lanes will remain open in the outbound direction,” IDOT said.
Additionally, work will continue on the Hubbard’s Cave exit between Ohio and Lake Streets, IDOT said.
Officials said the third phase is expected to begin in spring 2025 and be completed by late fall 2025.
When Will Construction Be Completed?
According to IDOT, the overall project is expected to begin on March 20, 2023, starting with the incoming Kennedy lanes. It will be completed in phases, IDOT said, and is expected to be fully wrapped by “late fall 2025.”
“Motorists should expect significant delays and allow extra time for trips in this area,” IDOT said.
The Kennedy Expressway has been officially open since November 1960, but according to IDOT, the last major road rehab project was completed in 1994.