When the Illinois Department of Transportation announced proposed plans to widen the Eisenhower Expressway, the greater Chicago community had a range of reactions. Some were elated that additional lanes were being planned to increase capacity on one of the most congested areas in Illinois. Others were exasperated at the thought of a multi-year construction project that would certainly worsen the conditions of the expressway during the period of time when road work is active.
Now, IDOT is releasing some additional information about upgrades and changes it plans to make to surface roads in Chicago before work begins on widening I-290.
The proposed construction on I-290 is expected to take four years on the expressway itself and will include widening plans as well as redesigning some areas, overpasses, and some on- and off-ramps. During this construction period, traffic is expected to increase in other areas as motorists attempt to avoid the construction zones and the backups that will almost certainly exist.
With this in mind, IDOT has proposed changing and modifying Cermak Road and North Avenue beginning at their intersections with the Eisenhower and ending in Chicago. The plans for these roads include resurfacing them but may also involve improving their functionality by redesigning traffic control systems and monitoring traffic patterns for a better flow of vehicles. As these roads are likely to see an increase in traffic, IDOT seeks to make them better suited to handle more cars before construction starts on the Eisenhower Expressway but also seeks to make these surface roads more efficient at processing that heavy traffic load.
Roosevelt Road and Madison Street are also expected to see improvements prior to any mainline I-290 construction but these roads are being treated as secondary and therefore their improvements are not expected to be as significant as those facing Cermak and North Avenue.
IDOT is also considering adjusting toll lanes on I-55 prior to work on the Eisenhower as I-55 previously saw an increase in traffic when the Eisenhower Expressway underwent resurfacing in 2010.
Whether you like the idea of major construction on I-290 or you hate it, odds are that you are going to have to deal with it and with all of the possible consequences that accompany this work. Unfortunately, car accidents are much more common in areas of high congestion and in areas with active construction work which means that undertaking this project may lead to an increased risk for collisions. When that happens, those drivers and passengers involved may be injured and may need medical help to treat their injuries.
Hopefully, officials with IDOT and with the City of Chicago will be able to create a plan that addresses the needs of residents now and in the future while limiting the risks posed by any construction work as much as possible.
Prior Blog Entry:
Ovarian Cancer Possibly Linked to Talc, Baby Powder, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published April 11, 2016.
IDOT seeks congestion relief for Eisenhower widening project, by Steve Schering, Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press, published April 13, 2016.