The John F. Kennedy Expressway is a nearly 18-mile-long freeway in Chicago. Portions of the freeway carry I-190, I-90, and I-94. It is very heavily used, with up to 327,000 vehicles traveling on it daily.
The Kennedy opened in 1960 and hasn’t had a major rehabilitation since 1994. Well, it’s time for an overdue facelift. This massive construction project kicked off on March 20, 2023. A three-year, $150 million project will be completed in three phases:
- Phase 1: Inbound lanes (this year)
Two main lanes will be closed at a time. To minimize the impact on traffic, reversible express lanes will remain open 24 hours a day in the direction of travel, and motorists will not be able to exit the express lanes until Armitage avenue. There will also be lane changes, overnight lane closures, as well as various ramp closures. Construction is expected to be completed this fall, with all lanes and ramps reopening and the high-speed lanes resuming normal service.
- Phase 2: Reversible lanes (2024)
The reversible high-speed lanes will be closed to allow for rehabilitation of the REVLAC system and bridge structures, as well as pavement repairs. In addition, the main lanes must be closed. Painting and installing new LED lighting in both directions of Hubbard’s Cave, between Ohio and Lake Streets will take place.
- Phase 3: Outbound lanes (2025)
The reversible high-speed lanes will remain open in the direction of travel, while two main lanes will be closed simultaneously. Lane changes and overnight lane closures as well as various ramp closures will be required to complete the work. In addition, a new LED lighting installation and painting will be completed at the exit of Hubbard’s Cave between Ohio and Lake streets. Construction will start in spring 2025 and will be completed in late autumn 2025.
What are some other options?
IDOT officials urge drivers to adjust their schedules or find alternate modes of transportation during construction when possible.
- Shift working hours to start a few hours earlier to avoid the worst of rush hour traffic
- Work remotely
- Metra and CTA are suggested alternates