Jane Byrne Interchange project: Outbound Kennedy detour from inbound Eisenhower will create big traffic shift

Chicago motorists should expect different traffic configuration
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Construction is moving along on the Jane Byrne Interchange project, but a big traffic shift is about to happen.

It affects drivers from the Eisenhower Expressway trying to get onto the Kennedy.

The reason the Illinois Department of Transportation is talking about this so far in advance of the closure is so people have enough time to really understand the detour.

Crews will be making a major shift on the inbound Eisenhower at the Jane Byrne Interchange. They will close the ramp from the inbound Ike to the outbound Kennedy for demolition and reconstruction.

The problem is, the detour to the outbound Kennedy is very different than what drivers are currently used to.

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"The detour, we really need to emphasize that the exit lane for east to north to follow the detour is on the far right now, whereas previously the Kennedy was in the lane over to the left," IDOT Engineer Steve Travia said.

Once the ramp is closed, the far right lane will be the detour to the outbound Kennedy by taking drivers onto the outbound Dan Ryan, turning around on the Taylor Street exit and reentering the inbound Dan Ryan, which will ultimately turn into the outbound Kennedy.

IDOT said it could take a couple of weeks for drivers to get used to the new configuration. Even though traffic volumes are decreased by at least one-third right now, this traffic shift could still cause congestion and headaches for motorists.

There will be extra state troopers on-hand to monitor the construction zone. The new ramp is scheduled to open in October and will have an additional lane, much like the flyover ramp from the inbound Dan Ryan to the outbound Ike.

Because there will be demolition, crews will have to do some full lane closures during the overnight hours during the month of June.

The closure and detour set to begin Monday has been indefinitely postponed.
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