Thinking of a leisurely drive down the Kennedy Expressway to take in the Chicago Blues Fest this Saturday or Sunday?
Don't do it, state and Chicago transportation engineers beg. For the next three weekends, Illinois Department of Transportation workers will be demolishing the Ontario Street bridge at the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94).
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Resultant lane closures at the Ontario/Ohio streets interchange with I-90 are expected to create gridlock-Palooza unless enough drivers take public transit or use alternate routes.
Metra will be adding extra cars onto its Union Pacific Lines and the Milwaukee District to accommodate extra riders. The CTA also offers $5 daily parking rates on weekends at lots connected to the Rosemont, Cumberland and Harlem stations on the Blue Line.
"We really need people to be aware of what's going on and considering using Metra or CTA," IDOT bridge maintenance engineer Sarah Wilson said at a news conference Tuesday. "We should get through fine if people listen to the traffic reports."
Starting at 10 p.m. today through 5 a.m. Monday, traffic on the eastbound Kennedy will be reduced to two lanes starting at Diversey Avenue and diverted onto the eastbound Ohio Street exit and back to I-90. The far left lane on the westbound Kennedy in the construction zone also will be closed. The reversible lanes will be closed as well.
Next weekend, from 10 p.m. Friday, June 20, to 5 a.m. Monday, June 23, the westbound lanes on the Kennedy will close from Grand to Ogden avenues in addition to the reversible lanes. Vehicles will be diverted to the eastbound Ohio Street and Orleans Street. Eisenhower Expressway drivers should note the exit to the westbound Kennedy from the Ike will close that weekend also.
The last phase of construction runs from 10 p.m. Friday, June 27, to 5 a.m. Monday, June 30. The eastbound Kennedy exit to Ohio Street and westbound Ontario Street ramp to the eastbound Kennedy will close.