Kennedy Expressway inbound lanes fully reopened; phase 2 of construction to begin spring 2024: IDOT

Sunday, December 10, 2023
Kennedy Expressway inbound lanes fully reopened: IDOT
Phase one of the Kennedy Expressway construction is complete, and I-90/94 inbound lanes are now fully reopened, IDOT officials said.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The first phase of the massive multi-year construction project on the Kennedy Expressway has been completed.

Illinois Department of Transportation officials said all Kennedy inbound lanes and ramps were fully reopened on Sunday morning. The reversible express lanes are back to normal, too.

There was a collective sigh of relief for so many drivers on Sunday. Things have been moving steadily as those drivers are looking forward to this week of commuting with no headache of construction on the Kennedy Expressway, at least, for now.

"It's gonna be way faster to get to work I'm not gonna have to be waking up early," said commuter Luis Oliva. "Less traffic is gonna be helpful."

It's great news for those who commute from the city's North and Northwest Sides, and from the north and northwest suburbs. Those drivers have endured months of gridlock and delays since the start of the first year of the $150 million rehab of 7.5 miles of I-90/94.

The daily commute for thousands of drivers will now be a bit less stressful along the Kennedy with the first phase of a three-year construction project now complete.

"Oh man, I spend so much time on this highway, and it's been frustrating for a number of months now, and this is just gonna be a big relief for me and a lot of my coworkers," said commuter Danny Margolis.

Over the next few months, minor work on the inbound Kennedy will continue, but it will only happen during off-peak and overnight hours.

Drivers who struggled through the morning and evening rush are grateful for the progress made.

"Too much traffic, man. Road rage and everything, out of control," said Prince, a Chicago resident. "I feel like they're doing the best thing they can to get it back open."

The project spruced up the expressway's main line and ramps between the Edens Junction and Ohio Street. The construction also included restoration of dozens of overpasses and upgrades to LED overhead signage.

Phase two of the $150 million project is expected to begin in March 2024, weather permitting. It'll focus on the express lanes.

Some drivers said they're already dreading what's to come.

"Especially when you're trying to get people to get back into the offices downtown, this has been an impediment to that I think where people just feel it's easier to stay up north, and stay in the burbs out west, and just deal with things from home," Margolis said.

The plan is to complete the project by 2025.