Inbound Kennedy to eastbound Congress ramp to be closed for 2 years

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The Jane Byrne Interchange Reconstruction Project has hit the halfway mark, but the completion date of Fall 2021 is still a long way off. (WLS)

As work continues on the Jane Byrne Interchange, the 400,000 vehicles that make their way through it each day now have a new closure to detour around. The ramp from the inbound Kennedy to eastbound Congress will be closed for the next two years.

While Jane Byrne Interchange Reconstruction Project has hit the halfway mark, the completion date of Fall 2021 is still a long way off.

"The reason that ramp has to be closed is to allow us to complete the construction of the new inbound ramp to inbound Congress Parkway as well as construct the new Van Buren bridge over I-90/94," said Paul Gregoire, IDOT Bureau Chief of Construction.

During the closure the posted detour has drivers continuing south, exiting the Dan Ryan at Roosevelt east, to Jefferson north, to Harrison east and north on Wells back to Congress.

Next month, crews will close the Monroe bridge over the Kennedy to be rebuilt. The new Monroe and Van Buren bridges will both open summer of 2019.

Because the reconstruction of the Jane Byrne Interchange is such a massive and complex project, it was always part of the plan to work through the winter months.

"We can do removal, bridge removal," said Gregoire. "There's quite a bit of work you can do, piling, pile driving for foundations, it's rare that we pour concrete but in cases that we do, we can do winter protection on concrete."

When the weather improves in the spring, you'll see a lot of traffic shifts and temporary closures in the work zone. The next focus will be rebuilding the remaining half dozen ramps that make up the spaghetti bowl-- those connecting the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways.

It's a lot of coordination between dozens of contracts, IDOT, CODT, the CTA, University of Illinois Chicago and utilities to name a few. For now, IDOT said the $600 million project is on budget and on time for completion in the fall of 2021.

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