Looks like driver frustration on the Jane Byrne Interchange isn’t going away anytime soon.
The rebuilding project for the former Circle Interchange, initially expected to be completed in 2019, will now continue for an estimated four years.
The Illinois Department of Transportation said the project took longer than anticipated as crews try to minimize the impact to travelers, keeping lane, ramp and bridge closures to a minimum.
“It could have been a much shorter project, but that would have resulted in closing some of the expressway and that is something we were just not comfortable doing,” said IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgel.
Tridgel added officials also saw an “unexpected repair” to Interstate 55 and Lake Shore Drive in 2016.
“We needed to get that project done,” he said. “That interchange was in failure. It was closing repeatedly because the bridge deck was not able to withstand the traffic volumes it was seeing.”
Tridgel said the eight- to nine-year project is around 60 percent complete, but “significant changes” are in store.
One of the most difficult years for drivers is still to come- 2020.
That’s when the ramp from the inbound Eisenhower to the northbound Kennedy is expected to close for three months.
“That’s going to have a significant travel impact,” Tridgel said.
As of December, work is largely expected to wrap up in 2021, but some miscellaneous projects will be completed in 2022, according to Tridgel.
“We are looking to see traffic delays decrease by as much as half,” he said.
Here's a look at projects currently underway and when they will be finished, as of IDOT's November update:
Northeast Ramp from Dan Ryan to Inbound Congress Parkway
Construction of the Northeast Ramp between the Dan Ryan northbound to the inbound Congress Parkway is effectively complete. Various electrical improvements continue and the Contractor is completing finish work and punch list tasks. Due to adjacent work on the Eastbound (Inbound) Congress Parkway bridge, the Northeast ramp will not open until the additional work is mostly complete.
Westbound (Outbound) Congress Parkway
Congress Parkway rehabilitation and construction is effectively complete. Traffic continues to be staged to support the westbound mainline pavement work and other projects. The Contractor is completing miscellaneous punch list tasks and electrical work.
Westbound (Outbound) I-290 Mainline
The reconstruction of the westbound (outbound) lanes of the mainline Eisenhower from I90/94 to Racine Avenue continues. Traffic has been shifted into a stage that allows full pavement and barrier wall reconstruction work along the median. Removal of the existing roadway is ongoing. Electrical improvements and various pavements and barrier walls have been completed. The project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2019.
Van Buren Street Bridge over I-90/94
The bridge was closed to traffic on 10/9/2017. In order to construct the proposed bridge structure, the existing ramp from the Southbound Kennedy (I-90/94) to eastbound (inbound) Congress Parkway was closed in mid-January. All structural steel components have been installed and the contractor is completing the wingwall abutment extensions, including backfilling the excavations, on both ends of the bridge. The contractor will soon begin building elements of the proposed retaining wall connecting the Van Buren Street bridge to the Halsted Street bridge. The project includes the full reconstruction of the bridge, a new retaining wall between Van Buren Street and Halsted Street and reconstruction of Van Buren Street pavement and drainage and major improvements to an existing City of Chicago combined sewer siphon beneath the expressway. In coordination with Greektown, major improvements will also be made within Elysian Field on the southeast corner of Van Buren and Halsted Streets. The project is anticipated to be completed in the late spring of 2019.
Water Main Improvements at Jackson Boulevard
The project has installed a brand new 16” water main for the City of Chicago beneath I90/94. The water main utilizes a 30” steel casing pipe under I-90/94 with riser shaft structures on both sides of the expressway. Minor punch list items remain. Traffic on Jackson Boulevard has been restored to the normal configuration.
Eastbound (Inbound) I-290 Mainline
The reconstruction of the inbound mainline lanes of the Eisenhower from west of Racine Avenue to I-90/94 began in the fall of 2017.Traffic is staged in order to allow construction progress. Construction of retaining walls and proposed pavement along the south side of I-290 continues. Major storm sewer work continues with the closure of the ramp from Westbound I-290 to Southbound I-90/94 and the Southbound exit from I-90/94 to Taylor Street in mid-May 2018. The closures are needed to build large pits required to install storm sewers between 42” and 60” in diameter. Pavement removal and storm sewer installation continues west of Halsted Street. The overall project is anticipated to be complete in the fall of 2019.
Eastbound (Inbound) Congress Parkway
The construction of the inbound portion of Congress Parkway rehabilitation and mainline bridge reconstruction began in the fall of 2017. Traffic was shifted onto the newly reconstructed and improved inner lanes in late October. Demolition of the outer lanes of the existing bridges continues. The exit ramp to Canal Street was closed with the traffic shift. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained at all times except for limited nighttime lane closures as needed for bridge deck work. The overall project is anticipated to be complete in the summer of 2019.
Retaining Wall and Water Main/Sewer Improvements Near University of Illinois –Chicago (UIC)
The project includes the relocation and rehabilitation of one 48” water main from the City of Chicago Cermak Pumping Station, additional water main and drainage improvements and the construction of a retaining wall extending south of Harrison along the west side of I-90/94. The wall will be built along the University of Illinois – Chicago Student Recreation Facility and will create more space for the future construction/relocation of exit ramps from I-90/94 and I-290 to Taylor Street and the West-South Ramp connecting the outbound Congress Parkway to the southbound Dan Ryan. The proposed water main relocation work has continued with final connections and coordination with the City of Chicago ongoing. The rehabilitation of the existing water main below the highway pavement using carbon fiber wrap has been completed. Relocation of an existing 60” City of Chicago combined sewer is almost complete. Foundation construction for the retaining wall will continue through most of the fall of 2018 with excavation for the proposed wall continuing. The project completion is anticipated in early 2019.
Monroe Street Bridge over I-90/94
The project includes the full reconstruction of the bridge, a new retaining wall south along the east side of I-90/94 reconstruction of Monroe Street pavement and drainage and miscellaneous ramp improvements. The project is anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2019. The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic on February 26th. All bridge support piers and abutments have been completed and are now awaiting the placement of steel beams. Work for the retaining wall along the Madison Street exit ramp has been started. Numerous entrance and exit ramp closures will be staged to allow bridge construction. The project also includes the structural lining of a City of Chicago combined sewer siphon beneath WB I-290