Lane closures, shifts on Edens expressway

Traffic in the northbound lanes will shift from the right to the left and center lanes, and soon, that same change will be made on southbound lanes.

Shifts in traffic patterns may have caused two recent accidents on the expressway.

Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, the northbound lanes to be shut down to just one lane. By 6 a.m. or 8 a.m. Saturday, the lanes will be shifted.

Traveling on the Edens these days is not predictable, especially with the ongoing construction projects. The repaving project creates many opportunities for unexpected delays and detours.

"South of Dempster, you're going to weave to the left and get into the two inside lanes. That's something you're not used to. [You will think] 'I've been doing this the last two months, going down along the right side. Now, I've got to move over to the left.' Pay attention. That's going to be happening, and you need to be able to slow down and drive that, and negotiate it, safely," said Jacek Tyszkiewicz of the Illinois Department of Transportation, also known as IDOT.

Beginning Saturday, from Dempster to Lake Cook, northbound traffic will be moved to the repaved center lane. Next week, southbound traffic will also shift to the center lanes.

The changes come as IDOT makes changes to the 'Edens Spur,' after several accidents.

"We've reduced the speed limit from 55 to 45. We put barricades all the way, almost to Waukegan Road, signifying a work zone. We have signs out there. We put more signs," Tyszkiewicz said.

Last Friday, a truck plowed into stopped traffic at full speed. One motorist was killed, and nine vehicles were involved in the accident.

As improvement projects continue on the Edens, officials urge caution.

"You're going to be entering a situation that is going to have different lane closures. It might be confusing. [There will be] a lot of barricades. It might have shifts over. Right there and then, you need to start thinking about slowing down and being aware that people may stop and people may slow down," said Tyszkiewicz

If there is any good news, it's that the changes mean the project is moving forward. Authorities say they are approximately 30 or 40 percent finished and have two layers of asphalt down already. Three layers are need for the repaving project to be complete. Transportation officials say they hope to have the closed Edens lanes open again by the end of July. Once they have that done, they will only do the final third layer of asphalt in the overnight hours.

Until then, drivers are asked to be alert.

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