Construction to begin on I-294/90 ramp

July 5, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The I-294/I-90 interchange near O'Hare is already a complex twist of merges and exits. Beginning Wednesday morning, the ramp from the southbound tri-state to eastbound I-90, which becomes the Kennedy Expressway, will close as part of an extensive tri-level bridge rehabilitation project, and that could be a traffic headache waiting to happen.

"I take a lot of trips back and forth from the airport and that delay right there might cause me, even though we have to leave early, we'll have to leave earlier to try and beat the traffic," said Brandon Norton, tri-state tollway driver.

"I do a lot of travel for business here so it's going to be a longer drive," said Anthony Zarb, tri-state tollway driver .

The posted detour will take drivers westbound on the I-190 ramp toward O'Hare, exiting at Mannheim Road south, re-entering eastbound I-190, which will merge with the inbound Kennedy Expressway.

More than 32,000 vehicles use the I-294/90 interchange each day. This is the first complete rehab of the flyover bridge since it was built in 1958.

Next year crews will work on the ramp from northbound tri-state to westbound I-90, but one lane will remain open during the 2012 repairs.

The price tag for the 2-year bridge rehabilitation is $13 million.

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