New ramps opening at Jane Byrne Interchange will give traffic relief
After months of driving torture amid the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction, motorists will see some daylight this month with the completion of two significant projects.
On Thursday morning, the Illinois Department of Transportation will open up the rebuilt ramp from the inbound Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) to the outbound Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94), weather permitting.
And in mid-September, a new ramp from outbound Ida B. Wells Drive (formerly Congress Parkway) will take drivers to the outbound Kennedy Expressway.
"The new ramps will improve traffic flow and help reduce delays for the more than 40,000 vehicles that use them daily," Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said in a statement.
The move means drivers won't need to use the "Texas U-turn" detour from the Eisenhower to the Kennedy as of about 5 a.m. Wednesday.
And, traffic on the inbound Eisenhower will revert to its previous patterns with the two left lanes channeling vehicles to Ida B. Wells Drive, the third lane heading to the outbound Kennedy and far right lane to the outbound Dan Ryan Expressway.
But the completion of the two ramps doesn't mean an end to delays heading into downtown. This week, the ramp from the inbound Eisenhower to the outbound Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) will slim down to one lane from two, which is expected to contribute to gridlock. That configuration will be in place through 2022 to allow for construction on the mainline Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways.
Both new ramps are opening a month ahead of schedule, IDOT officials said, although the Byrne Interchange project has been plagued with delays and cost overruns. The project originally estimated at $535 million now stands at over $796 million.