Where to begin? It is not often that a road project is of such urban significance that even its minor details are of crucial importance. Yet such is the case with Chicago’s Jane Byrne Interchange.
This confluence of I-290 (the Eisenhower Expressway), I-90 (the Kennedy Expressway), I-94 (the Dan Ryan Expressway) and Congress Parkway was initially built in the 1950s and 1960s for a significantly more modest population level. Today, the interchange withstands some 400,000 vehicles per day, and traffic surges during peak commuting hours and amidst major sporting and civic events can rocket that already extraordinary number even higher. Travel delays as a direct result of the current interchange configuration cause an estimated 17 million lost hours per year, which translates to a time-dollar value of more than $400 million. But not for long, according to Illinois Department of Transportation Engineer of Project Implementation Tony Quigley.
“We’re looking to get another 50-plus good years out of our present work,” Quigley told Roads & Bridges.
As reported in our June Major Projects Update, crossroad bridges at Morgan, Peoria and Harrison streets have been completed, and work at Halsted Street is on target for completion this fall. Work on the new two-lane flyover bridge from the WB I-90/94 Dan Ryan to the WB I-290 Eisenhower Expressway and WB I-290 auxiliary lanes, which began last summer, is still ongoing.
Since our last report, the deck of unit 5 of the flyover has been poured, and all unit 6 beams have been erected and set. Provided Mother Nature cooperates, “we’re planning on being done with the flyover in time for Thanksgiving,” Quigley said. “We’re hoping to open it this winter.”
Auxiliary lane and retaining wall work on WB I-290 is ongoing, with contracts having been let on the full outbound Eisenhower package, work for which is presently underway.
“The bridge contract for the EB Dan Ryan into Congress Parkway will be starting after September,” Quigley added, “and mainline work on I-290 from Halsted to Racine, which is Phase 2 of the overall project work, gets going next April.” Work on Taylor Street is progressing, and crews expect to have it open by the end of this month.
The near future will tackle the Phase 3 reconstruction of I-90/94’s present 12-mile lane imbalance, which is responsible for 17 million hours lost to delay per year at a time-dollar value of $418 million. Travel into and out of Chicago is about to get a whole lot easier.
Location: Chicago, Ill.
Owner: Illinois Department of Transportation
Designer: AECOM/TranSystems J.V.
Contractors: Multiple, including Walsh, James McHugh, Kiewit, F.H. Paschen and Kinney
Cost: $475 million
Length: 5 miles
Completion Date: 2017 (Phase 1); 2018 (Phase 2); 2020 (Phase 3)