Next phase of Kennedy construction begins Monday, ‘significant’ traffic delays expected

Chicago drivers who have had to deal with weeks of delays caused by construction on the Kennedy Expressway could see more headaches starting Monday.

According to a press release from the Illinois Department of Transportation, an additional lane closure is added to the $150 million Kennedy Expressway overhaul.

IDOT says the additional lane closures will be indoors, at the Diversey Avenue exit on express lanes, beginning May 15.

“To accommodate bridge work on Diversey Avenue, the reversible express lanes on Diversey Avenue will be closed for approximately eight weeks,” IDOT said in the statement. “During that time, the express lanes will remain open inward and motorists will not be able to exit them as far as Ohio Street.”

“Drivers should continue to expect that there will be lane changes and night lane closures, along with many ramp closures,” the warning continues. Significant travel delays are expected.

According to IDOT, construction of the Kennedy Inland Highway is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023. Although there are no exit lane closures, motorists often encounter back-up traffic when driving out of town due to the adaptable rapid transit For reversing lanes are only available to inbound drivers.

Where is the building located at Kennedy?

According to IDOT, the entire project will take over approximately seven miles of the Kennedy Expressway (Intestate 90/94), from Edens Expressway Junction (Interstate 94) to the Ohio Street exit.

In addition, work is also planned on Hubbard’s Cave—the tunnel below where Hubbard Street crosses the Kennedy Expressway—from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street.

Which lanes will be closed and when?

IDOT says the project will happen in three phases. The first phase started on March 20.

Stage 1: the inner corridorsAnd Spring 2023 through Fall 2023

The first phase of construction would affect the Kennedy interior, with “two major pathways to the interior being closed simultaneously.”

“Motorists should expect lane changes and nighttime lane closures, along with various ramp closures,” says a statement from IDOT.

A press release from the agency continues that reversible express lanes will remain open in the inbound direction to “help reduce the impact of traffic.”

In the summer months, the inner tunnel below where it crosses Hubbard Street via the Kennedy Expressway will also be affected.

“Later this summer, new LED lights will begin painting and installing in the indoor Hubbard Cavern between Ohio Streets and Lake,” says IDOT.

This stage also includes the additional closing at the Diversey exit on the inside fast lanes.

According to officials, the Phase 1 projects are expected to be completed in the fall of 2023, with “all tracks and ramps reopening and express lanes resuming normal operation.”

Phase 2: Express Lanes, Spring 2024 through Fall 2024

IDOT says the second phase of the project will address reversible express lanes.

According to the release, next year, the express lanes will be closed to accommodate the rehabilitation of the reverse lane access control system known as REVLAC.

“In addition, major walkway closures will be required to accommodate the coating and installation of new LED lighting in both directions at Hubbard’s Cave, between Ohio Streets and Lake,” IDOT says.

According to officials, the second-phase projects are expected to start in the spring of 2024, and finish in the fall of 2024.

Phase 3: Outbound Kennedy flight, spring 2025 through late fall 2025

IDOT says the third phase of construction will address the outbound lanes of the Kennedy Expressway.

According to the release, two major outbound lanes will be closed simultaneously, with lane changes, night lane closures and various ramp closures. However, “reversible express lanes will remain open in the outward direction,” says IDOT.

In addition, work will continue on Hubbard’s Cave between Ohio and Lake Streets, IDOT says.

Officials say the third phase is expected to begin in spring 2025 and complete in late fall 2025.

When will the construction end?

According to IDOT, the entire project is expected to begin on March 20, 2023, starting with the Kennedy Interior Corridors. It will be completed in phases, IDOT says, and is expected to be fully finished in “late fall 2025.”

“Motorists should expect significant delays and allow additional travel time through this area,” IDOT says.

The Kennedy Expressway has been officially open since November 1960, but according to IDOT, the last major rehabilitation project on the road was completed in 1994.

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