Getting To Chicago From Rockford Is About To Get A Lot Harder For The Next 3 Years (At Least)
Starting from March 20th, drivers can expect major delays on the Kennedy Expressway as the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) begins a three-year, $150 million construction project. The project involves rehabilitating 36 bridge structures between the Edens and Ohio Street, patching the expressway pavement, replacing overhead sign structures, repainting the Hubbard's Cave, and replacing the access system to the express lanes. The construction work will result in lane closures, affecting inbound and outbound traffic.
During the first stage, which begins in 2023, two inbound lanes of the expressway will be closed, with express lanes flowing only inbound. IDOT plans to demolish the bridge decks, replace and repair the bridge joints, and install a latex concrete to give the bridges another 25 years of life.
The second stage, set to begin in 2024, will see the closure of the reversible express lanes. Additionally, mainline lane closures will be seen in both directions of Hubbard's Cave between Ohio and Lake Streets.
The third and final stage, beginning in 2025, will see the reversible express lanes open in the outbound direction while two main outbound lanes of the roadway will be closed at a time.
Impact on Drivers
The construction work is expected to cause significant traffic delays and affect many Chicago-area commuters, including those traveling from Rockford. IDOT has urged drivers to plan ahead and consider traveling at off-peak times or using public transportation. During each of the three years, two lanes of traffic will be closed for work between the Edens and Ohio Street. The closures will cause lane shifts, overnight lane closures, and various ramp closures.
For drivers traveling from Rockford to Chicago, IDOT recommends taking I-88 instead of I-90. I-88 runs east to west, connecting Rockford to Chicago's western suburbs, and has four lanes in each direction. Taking I-88 instead of I-90 may help drivers avoid the construction work and the expected traffic delays.
The Kennedy Expressway construction project is an essential project that will improve safety, traffic flow, and reliability for the more than 275,000 motorists who use the expressway each day. However, the project will cause significant delays, making travel between Rockford and Chicago difficult over the next three-plus years. Drivers should plan ahead, consider taking public transportation, and consider alternative routes such as I-88 to avoid the expected traffic delays.