Where to expect first lane closures and how long Kennedy’s construction begins – NBC Chicago
Starting Monday, two main lanes will be closed on a busy section of the Kennedy Freeway, which is expected to impact thousands of commuters who use the roadway in Chicago.
The first stage of the massive construction project, which will last for years, will begin with the incoming Kennedy, closing two main lanes of the freeway.
The project will affect drivers from the Edens Expressway junction to Ohio Street in both directions, IDOT said.
“Motorists should expect lane changes and lane closures overnight, as well as various ramp closures,” the Illinois Department of Transportation said.
While reversible expressways will ‘remain open in the inbound direction’ in hopes of mitigating some of the impacts, officials warn that ‘significant travel delays are to be expected’, with IDOT urging people find alternative routes or use public transport.
Project engineers told NBC 5 traffic reporter Kye Martin that the first lanes to be closed will be the two left-hand inbound lanes, which will close between March and July. After that, the two right entry lanes will be blocked from July through November with open paths to exit and enter at all exits. On weekends and during night hours, however, exit closures are possible.
The lane closures are the first part of a three-stage construction plan that will continue through 2025.
Also part of the first stage, painting and new lighting installation will begin this summer in the incoming Hubbard Cave between Ohio and Lake streets. This work is expected to be completed in the fall, with all lanes and ramps reopening and normal express lane operations resuming at that time.
Authorities have been warning for weeks of the potential for “major delays” due to upcoming roadworks, urging drivers to seek alternative routes if they plan to use the motorway.
The project will include the rehabilitation of 36 bridge structures and the reversible lane access control system, the replacement of overhead signaling structures, the installation of new signs and new LED lighting, the resurfacing of the pavement, the painting of the structures and the painting of the Hubbard Cave from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street.
“The project will improve safety, traffic flow and reliability for the more than 275,000 motorists who use the motorway every day,” IDOT said in one release.
The next stages of the project will see reversible lane closures, which will take place between the spring and fall of 2024, as well as additional main lane closures in both directions for Hubbard’s Cave between Ohio and Lake streets.
Starting in the spring of 2025, exit lane closures will begin. Similar to stage one, these lanes will close two at a time, with the reversible express lanes remaining open in the outbound direction.
This work should be completed in the fall of 2025.
“Motorists should expect significant delays and allow extra time for travel in this area,” IDOT said in a statement.
The Kennedy Freeway has been officially open since November 1960, but according to IDOT, the last major pavement rehabilitation project was completed in 1994.