Jane Byrne Interchange Project finally coming to an end — over budget and years behind schedule


CHICAGO — After nine years, the Jane Byrne Interchange Project is finally coming to an end.

It’s expected to be complete within the week. The exact date and time is dependent on weather conditions, but the Illinois Department of Transportation is hosting an official ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday and hopes to have major lane closures lifted by Friday morning or early next week. 

The project started back in 2013 when the interchange went by a different name — The Circle Interchange. It was supposed to be a four year project, but ended up going nine years. It also went over-budget.  

The latest financial update from earlier this year, put it at price tag of $806 million, almost 50-percent more than the $535 million originally expected. 

IDOT says the delay and price increase is partially due to some unexpected problems at the construction site, including poor soil in the area and issues with the underground tunnels that forced it to change design plans mid-project.  It also says other large scale projects nearby, like I-55/LSD construction, slowed work in the highly traveled area. 

The big changes that drivers will see within the next week include the following: 

  • 90/94 (Kennedy and Dan Ryan) will go from three lanes to four lanes through the interchange
  • EB I-290 (Eisenhower) ramp to SB 90/94 (Dan Ryan) will go from one lane to two
  • EB I-290 (Eisenhower) ramp to NB 90/94 (Kennedy) will go from one lane to two
  • Adams and Jackson ramps to NB 90/94 (Kennedy) will reopen 
  • SB 90/94 (Kennedy) to WB I-290 (Eisenhower) will transition to a 2 lane distributor ramp

Some of the big changes associated with the project that are already in place include the following: 

  • A new two-lane flyover ramp from NB 90/94 (Dan Ryan) to WB I-290 (Eisenhower) 
  • Nine newly constructed roads over I-90/94 and I-290: Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Harrison, Taylor, Van Buren, Halsted, Peoria & Morgan
  • New underground water storage vault at 90/94 near Polk that’s the size of two Olympic size swimming pools to prevent flooding on the expressway
  • Some left-hand entrance ramps were relocated to the right side on 90/94/The Kennedy. 

IDOT says the new interchange is expected to help reduce traffic delays in the area by at least 50-percent.  

The interchange that brings together three major expressways is used by more than 400,000 motorists a day.

Stay tuned to WGN for the latest updates on exactly when in the next week the last big lane closures will be lifted. 

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