Construction on Kennedy 'way ahead of schedule' - New York News

Construction on Kennedy 'way ahead of schedule'

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Phase one of the major Kennedy construction is in the books. Road crews finished up the first part of the project a lot quicker than expected - the road was reopened 12 hours ahead of schedule. 

All inbound lanes of the Kennedy Expressway were reopened to traffic about noon Sunday, after demolition of the Ontario Street bridge, which spans the expressway.

About 10 p.m. Friday, crews routed traffic to a detour and closed the expressway so they could begin tear-down of the overhead bridge. But they made enough progress that the time-table for project completion was shortened from three weeks to two weeks.

All lanes opened ahead of schedule at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Illinois State Police. The Ohio Street exit ramp was opened later Sunday.

“The removal of the Ontario Street bridge is proceeding so smoothly that we, in coordination with the city of Chicago, are taking advantage of the opportunity to condense this project into just two weekends,” Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider said Saturday.

Drivers were warned for weeks that the work would cause massive traffic backups, so they largely steered clear. The expressway was near-empty by the Loop Sunday as a feared “Carmaggedon,” affecting Kennedy drivers heading into the city from the north, appeared to have been averted.

Traffic volume on the inbound Kennedy was about a third less than on a typical June weekend.

Next weekend’s construction will close lanes on the outbound Kennedy, weather permitting. The good news is, crews only believe they have one weekend left of 'Carmageddon.'

The Chicago Blues Festival, the Spring Awakening Music Festival at Soldier Field and the Taste of Randolph Festival were all drawing crowds this weekend.

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