Illinois Making Major Changes to the Highways

Nov. 22, 2022
Repairs and smart corridors are planned for the state's roadways

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is focusing on several projects that will help drivers on the Illinois roadway.

The Kennedy Expressway is going to see major repairs to bridges and pavement between the Edens Expressway and Ohio Street in Chicago. And, Route 56 (Butterfield Road) and Route 64 (North Avenue), a pair of heavily used roads, will be transformed into "smart corridors."

The Kennedy Expressway, built 50 years ago, sees approximately 275,00 vehicles daily and the usage has worn down concrete on 36 bridges.

In October, IDOT coped with emergency repairs on two inbound lanes at Division Street that played havoc with traffic, officials said.

The state expects to spend $150 million reconstructing bridge decks and patching concrete pavement starting next year. Workers will also update equipment, such as gates for the reversible lanes, install new overhead signs, LED lighting and traffic detectors, and put a fresh coat of paint on structures.

Drivers can expect lane closures in the future.

IDOT intends to repair the inbound lanes in 2023, switch to the reversibles in 2024 and finish with the outbound section in 2025. Two lanes of traffic will be closed at a time during construction with the reversible lanes helping to pick up slack in 2023 and 2025.

Switching over to Routes 56 and 64, Illinois is re-imagining them as smart corridors. 

Officials said improvements include traffic signal upgrades to modernize the corridors, synchronizing signals, dynamic message signs in strategic spots, and accommodations for pedestrians.

Walkers and transit users will see upgrades to sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian signals, and new, strategically located bus stops that expedite traffic flow.

"The long-range idea is to get those corridors working as efficiently as possible and to help support transit and buses," IDOT District 1 Program Development Engineer John Baszek said.

The estimated budget is $30 million for both corridors, but the cost is anticipated to rise with inflation. Work starts in 2024 and continues in 2025.