Inbound Kennedy construction enters new phase Wednesday, with lane shifts at Division

Construction will shift to the right side of the inbound lanes at Division Street, forcing drivers to go left onto new pavement until the end of construction at Ohio Street.

SHARE Inbound Kennedy construction enters new phase Wednesday, with lane shifts at Division
Cars travel along the inbound lane of the Kennedy Expressway near the Montrose Avenue exit as left lanes are closed for construction, Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

Cars clog in the inbound lane of the Kennedy Expressway near the Montrose Avenue exit in March, when left lanes were closed for construction.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Construction on the inbound Kennedy Expressway has entered a new phase — but drivers won’t notice much of a difference.

Beginning 5 a.m. Wednesday, construction shifts to the right side of the inbound lanes at Division Street, forcing drivers to go left onto new pavement until Ohio Street.

The number of open inbound lanes will not change; there will still be two local and two express lanes. The express lane exit at Diversey will remain closed.

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The only difference is the weaving lane structure, officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation told reporters Tuesday.

To prepare for the new traffic pattern, crews will close the reversible lanes and all but one inbound local lane at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Thursday evening, the inbound Ohio Street ramp will close for a week for work on Hubbard’s Cave that involves repainting and installing new lights, IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda said.

The three-year, $150 million Kennedy construction project — the first major rehabilitation of the expressway and its 36 bridges since the early ’90s — has snarled morning commuters since it began in March.

Scheduled lane shifts on the inbound Kennedy Expressway.

Scheduled lane shifts on the inbound Kennedy Expressway.

Illinois Department of Transportation

This is the first of three anticipated lane shifts this year.

The next one, scheduled for late July, will have a greater impact on drivers. In that phase, drivers shift to the left lanes from Lawrence to Webster. Crews will also begin closing 23 ramps to be rehabbed. Ramp construction will be staggered so no two consecutive ramps are closed simultaneously, IDOT officials said.

The third lane shift is expected in late August, when drivers will shift left from Webster to Division.

The inbound Kennedy project should end by late fall, with all ramps reopening and reversible lanes returning to normal operation, officials said.

Express lanes will be closed for construction in 2024. The outbound Kennedy will be rehabbed in 2025.

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