Four big road work projects to keep an eye on in 2016
It's another year of loop-the-loop improvised ramps, thinking fast behind the wheel and congestion on key highways and toll roads, with some respite in sight for one big project at least.
Construction mayhem continues on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) as the Illinois tollway pushes its widening project from Elgin to O'Hare International Airport.
But by the end of 2016, the agency will wrap up the massive redo no doubt to a Hallelujah chorus of suburbanites who lived with makeshift lanes and 45 mph speed limits for four years.
Here's at look at what else to expect with road work this year.
• In addition to work on the mainline, I-90 interchange improvements are ongoing at Route 31, Route 25, Barrington Road, Roselle Road and Meacham Road. Those locations are expected to finish up this year, also.
• One big reveal in 2016 will be the diverging diamond interchange at the Elmhurst Road bridge over I-90. That type of interchange shifts traffic into opposite lanes using signals on bridges or underpasses so that vehicles can turn left onto the highway without facing oncoming cars. Then, traffic is routed back to the right side of the road.
• Work extending the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (Route 390) to O'Hare continues. Tollway improvements to the existing portion of the Elgin-O'Hare between Hanover Park and Itasca will be complete at the end of 2015 and tolls kick in by summer 2016. The second segment to Route 83 will wrap up in late 2017, when toll collection will start.
The final stage involves connecting Route 390 to O'Hare and to a ring road on the west side of the airport that links with the Tri-State Tollway in Franklin Park and the Jane Addams Tollway near Des Plaines.
The work on I-90 and Route 390 is funded by a 15-year, $12 billion tollway construction program.
• Odds are if you drove to Chicago from the suburbs last year, you were affected by work on the Jane Byrne (Circle) Interchange where the Eisenhower, Dan Ryan and Kennedy expressways meet. The Illinois Department of Transportation will continue work on improvements in 2016 including crucial ramps suburbanites use.
About 400,000 motorists drive through the Byrne Interchange -- considered one of the worst bottlenecks in the country -- every day, and about 35,000 use the existing ramp. The project is costing about $475 million. Work finishes in 2019.
For more information, go to http://www.illinoistollway.com/homepage or http://circleinterchange.org/.