Chicago area drivers will soon face another major construction project, this time on the Kennedy Expressway, for several years:
The $150 million project will take place along a 7.5-mile stretch from the split at I-94 south to Ohio Street, and at the massive underpass near Hubbard Street downtown. It will include rehabbing 36 bridges and the highway’s reversible express lane access system, replacing overhead signs, upgrading lighting, paving and painting.
The work is designed to improve safety, traffic flow and reliability on the 10-lane expressway, used by more than 275,000 drivers each day, the Illinois Department of Transportation said. The last major rehabilitation of the 63-year-old roadway was in 1994, and bridges were last repaired a decade ago.
Construction is expected to take place in phases over the next three warm-weather seasons, starting with the inbound, or southbound, lanes this year…
The outbound work and the updates at Hubbard’s Cave are expected to be complete in late fall 2025.
The last major road project nearby went over budget and over time. Are there publicly posted odds regarding this project?
Given the importance of this stretch of highway for the Chicago road network, it is hard to say that the construction should not happen. Even as the cynic might note that as soon as this project is over the next stretch of the Kennedy will be under construction, roads do need repair. But, what are the consequences if the project is not completed on time? Are there any significant incentives that can help make sure this project stays on track and within budget?
It does not help that the timeline for this project is so long. At some point, the regular driver on the Kennedy may have a hard time remembering when the road was not under construction. In fall 2025, how many will remember the optimism of a prediction of 3 years? If it goes into 2026 and the cost went up some, how many will care? I will set a mental note for late 2025 but we will see what happens…