Traffic Nightmare Begins - NBC Chicago

Traffic Nightmare Begins

It's no dream, 25 minute delays take effect



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    The traffic nightmare has finally started.

    Commuters traveling on the Eisenhower Expressway inched their way to the city this morning as crews closed a lane on the two-lane highway.

    Drivers reported an added 25 minutes to their commutes.
    The Illinois Department of Transportation closed the inbound lane on a 12-mile stretch of road from St. Charles Road on the I-290 extension to Sacramento Avenue on the Ike. The new lane closures add to existing closures making for a 20-mile stretch with limited roadway.

    The overnight lane closure weren’t exactly a surprise. IDOT has been warning about the summer traffic nightmare for months. But the construction was supposed to start on April 1, but that date passed without much of a slowdown.

    After that, it wasn’t clear when exactly the construction would begin.

    The lane closures are part of a massive resurfacing project that will play in conjunction with other city projects to create a road block of epic proportions.

    The most ambitious project will be the complete rebuilding of upper and lower Wacker Drive. It will be rebuilt to match the East-West portion of the road that was redone a couple of years ago. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction.That will allow deliveries to buildings on Wacker, but not the underground shortcuts that so many people have come to depend upon. 

    IDOT says140-thousand motorists use the Congress Bridge each day and 200,000 use the Eisenhower. To reduce delays authorities are suggesting alternatives like the Kennedy expressway and the Stevenson even Roosevelt Road. 

    According to O’Keefe, here is no economic advantage to doing all the projects at the same time, the reason it’s being done is much the same reason you pull off a band-aid quickly, so it will only hurt for a short time. 

    IDOT:  Interstate 290 Resurfacing Project
    Wacker Drive Revival Project
    Congress Parkway  Bridge Reconstruction