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On The Road To Construction!

You know the old saying - there are only 2 seasons in Chicago - winter and construction!  We are about to enter one heck of a construction season, especially for those of us traveling to and from the western suburbs.  My promise to you, is to keep you as updated as possible on four major projects that are about to get underway.

Let's start with one that will impact both downtown drivers, as well as those traveling into the city from the west - the rehabilitation of the Congress Bridge over the Chicago River.  This is the beginning, or the end of the Eisenhower Expressway, depending on which way you're traveling.  Beginning on April 1st, IDOT will begin a 2 year project to make major repairs to the 53 year old bascule bridge (lift bridge over water).

This year, the eastbound, or inbound side will close and traffic will shift to the westbound or outbound lanes.  Traffic will be reduced to only two lanes inbound and one lane outbound!  Let me say that again - only two lanes inbound and only one lane outbound!!   150-thousand vehicles pass over that bridge each day - as you can imagine, this type of pinch point is sure to create traffic havoc!

In conjunction with this closure, the ramps to and from the Eisenhower to lower Wacker will be closed!

IDOT has its hands full trying to detour traffic around this project.  Truck traffic has to use routes with enough clearance, vehicular traffic needs to stay on a designated route so as not to completely disrupt residential areas.

The official, and posted detour will be to use exit the inbound Ike at Sacramento and use Roosevelt Road to the south or Warren/Washington to the north into the downtown area.  Outbound traffic should take Michigan Avenue to Roosevelt Road west, to Sacramento to the outbound Ike.

To make things more challenging, the ramp from the Inbound Kennedy to Eastbound Congress Parkway will be closed - motorists will have to exit at Ohio instead.  The ramp from the Inbound Dan Ryan to Eastbound Congress Parkway will also be closed.  Drivers will be directed to the Inbound Stevenson ramp to Northbound Lake Shore Drive to get to downtown.  Are you still with me?!

This work will continue until late fall.  It picks up again in spring of 2011 to late fall of 2011 when the westbound lanes of the bridge will close and traffic, again will be reduced to 2 inbound and one outbound lane on the newly repaired eastbound bridge.

I don't want to pile too much on your plate, but at the same time the Congress Bridge is being repaired, IDOT will start a one year resurfacing project of the entire Eisenhower Expressway, including the I-290 extension to Thorndale.  The City will begin preliminary work on the reconstruction of Wacker Drive from Randolph to Congress, and last, but not least, the Tollway will begin a one year, 18 mile resurfacing and bridge repair project of I-355, the Veterans Memorial Tollway  from I-55 to Army Trail Road!!

As we get closer to that magical April 1st start date, I'll lay out the details of the other projects.  If you'd like more info right now, here is a link to the Congress Bridge project.


Happy Motoring!


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