IDOT wants to widen Kennedy Expressway on Northwest Side - New York News

IDOT wants to widen Kennedy Expressway on Northwest Side

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ROSEMONT, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A major bottleneck on the Kennedy Expressway could be getting some relief if a plan to widen a stretch of the highway near O'Hare Airport gets funded, Pioneer Press is reporting.

The Illinois Department of Transportation wants to add a lane of traffic in each direction along a mile-and-a-half-mile stretch in hopes of alleviating congestion experienced on the westernmost end of the heavily-traveled highway.

The proposal, presented Tuesday during a meeting to gather public input, calls for adding one lane of eastbound traffic on I-90 from Cumberland Avenue to Harlem Avenue, and one lane of westbound traffic from Harlem to I-190.

The widening would cost about $30 million, according to IDOT engineer Jason Salley. No funding has been secured so there are no details yet on when — or if — construction would start.

Eastbound commuters often find themselves in a bottleneck after passing through the River Road Toll Plaza where the Jane Addams Tollway ends and the Kennedy Expressway begins. That's what IDOT hopes to fix with the new lanes.

"We're not going to fix the whole Kennedy (traffic) problem, all the Edens problems and all the way down through the Dan Ryan," Salley acknowledged. "But it is one component to maybe help with a better transition between where I-190 and 90 merge and where the Jane Addams becomes the Kennedy."

The project is not expected to affect the CTA's Blue Line tracks, though the pedestrian walkway above I-90 at the Cumberland station will need to be changed to accommodate the wider highway, Salley indicated. IDOT has been working with the CTA to develop tentative plans for the station.

Environmental and noise studies haven't been performed yet, but an analysis could determine if noise barrier walls are warranted along the expressway, Salley said. These walls would be funded by IDOT, he added.

Once the data-gathering stage is complete, a public hearing on the completed phase I study is expected to take place, likely in late summer or early fall.

IDOT is also planning to construct a flyover ramp from I-190 to the eastbound Cumberland exits. The change is expected to separate traffic using the exits from traffic continuing east on the Kennedy and eliminating the many instances of vehicles crossing several lanes of traffic.

That project could begin in 2015 or 2016, Salley said.

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