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‘Please be patient for 3 more years,’ state says about Jane Byrne Interchange

Sun-Times file photo

An end may be in sight but not anytime soon for Chicago’s favorite interchange, which seems to be perpetually under construction.

Roadwork on the Jane Byrne Interchange — the series of ramps that links the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways just west of downtown — is still at least three years away from completion, state officials said Thursday.

Traffic jams and delays seem to be the norm on the expressways since construction started in the fall of 2013. And, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there will be more.

“Everybody hates construction,” said IDOT engineer Anthony Quigley at a media briefing Thursday afternoon. “Please be patient for three more years.”

Now expected to be finished in 2022, the project still has sizable progress to make, including some work scheduled to start this spring.

Of the 35 total contracts that make up the whole project, 17 are complete, Quigley said.

Eight more parts of the overall plan are expected to be done this year, including all construction in both directions on the Eisenhower; the Van Buren and Monroe street bridges; and the ramp that connects the northbound Dan Ryan with Ida B. Wells Drive.

The work that’s yet to start, though, could cause more headaches.

Construction is scheduled to begin next year on the Eisenhower and Ida B. Wells ramps to the Kennedy, while the southbound Kennedy to eastbound Ida B. Wells ramp won’t be complete until next year. The ramp from Ida B. Wells to the Dan Ryan, meanwhile, might not be done by the end of next year.

Roadwork on both the Kennedy and Dan Ryan is expected to take until the fall of 2022.

“There’s gonna be some significant impacts coming into the final stages,” Quigley said.

The problems that have delayed the project — which was originally planned to be done by 2019 — included coordination with city departments, poor soil conditions and other construction.

Most notably, IDOT officials said urgent work on the Stevenson forced them to slow construction on the Eisenhower so that two major expressways weren’t severely impacted at the same time.