Major construction projects to begin

March 30, 2010 9:54:40 AM PDT
Drivers in the Chicago area should prepare for four major construction projects beginning in April. The Illinois Department of Transportation will be resurfacing 27 miles of the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) and rehabbing the Congress Street Bridge. The Chicago Department of Transportation will be reconstructing the north-south leg of Wacker Drive and improving Congress Parkway.

Both IDOT and CDOT will work on the four construction projects at the same time.

Renovation of the Congress Street Bridge will begin on April 1. During the two-year project, there will be only two lanes inbound and one outbound. Commuters are less than thrilled.

"During the work week, I'm going to make sure to hit the train. It's not going to be worth sitting for hours in traffic," said Matt Ranalli.

"I'm going to have to grin and bear it. Give a little bit of extra time in the morning and I guess a little on the way home too," said Anthony DeVito.

Work also starts soon on resurfacing the Eisenhower Expressway. Construction will take place in both the inbound and outbound lanes. But the upside is the project should be completed by the fall.

"It's mixed emotions. Obviously, we need to take care of the infrastructure, but it is inconvenient when it takes three to six months to do it," said Bill Jamison.

And construction will tie up the upper and lower levels of Wacker Drive until 2012.

Both IDOT and CDOT are asking commuters for patience for the next few years and suggest using alternate routes or public transportation. Officials say it is best to do all the projects at once.

"We're working to make sure that we get all the work done in a very short time frame. Had we staggered these projects, we would have been out here for close to 10 years, working through this entire area," said Diane O'Keefe, IDOT.

"We know this work will cause an inconvenience for many motorists and pedestrians, but we want everyone to know we are doing all that we can to keep those impacts at minimal basis," said Thomas Powers, CDOT.

For more information, visit