Next up for the Kennedy Expressway rehab: ramp closures

Watch for lane shifts on the Kennedy Expressway this week and ramp closures in late July, as crews tackle the newest phase of a mega-rehabilitation.

Dry weather this spring gave workers a jump on upgrading bridge decks on the two left inbound lanes between the Edens Expressway and Ohio Street.

Now the focus will switch to fixing the two right inbound lanes on the corridor, Illinois Department of Transportation engineers said in a briefing Tuesday.

The work is broken into three stages, with the first occurring between Division and Ohio streets. Setup is planned for overnight Tuesday, then early Wednesday morning inbound Kennedy traffic will be eased onto the rehabbed left lanes just south of Division Street.

Drivers can expect the most angst during the second stage, with numerous ramp closures between the Edens and Webster Avenue beginning at the end of July.

“Some are only exit ramps, some are only entrance ramps, some have both exit and entrance ramps,” IDOT District 1 Bureau Chief of Construction Jon Schumacher said. “All totaled, there's 23 ramps that will be closed at some point in time.

“We really want to stress — at no time will there be two consecutive entrance ramps or two consecutive exit ramps closed at the same time,” he added. “We want to make sure (someone's) detour route is minimal so they don't have to travel a superlong way to get back to where they're going.”

Ramps at Irving Park Road and Addison Street, plus Fullerton and North avenues, are among those slated for full closures.

The third construction stage should kick off in mid- to late August between Webster and Division.

IDOT will provide specifics on dates and bridge locations in the coming weeks.

The three-year, $150 million project started in March and will rehab 36 outdated bridges.

Other work includes pavement patching, installing new signs and lighting, and repainting Hubbard's Cave.

In 2024, IDOT will shut down the reversible lanes to rehab the bridge decks and the Reversible Lane Access Control system. In 2025, it's the outbound Kennedy's turn.

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