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Avoid the Ryan, We Mean It

By Matt Wood in Miscellaneous on Mar 3, 2006 5:44PM

chicagoist_2006_03_danryan.jpgIf you rely on the Dan Ryan Expressway to get anywhere on a regular basis, we feel really sorry for you. Starting on April 1, the Illinois Department of Transportation will begin a major renovation of the roadway that is scheduled to last for nearly two years. The construction will modernize the Dan Ryan, which now handles twice as much traffic as it was originally built to handle, but in the meantime it will take what was already the area's most unpleasant commuting experience to a deeper circle of Hell.

Construction will restrict traffic to the three local lanes in both directions, from 13th Street all the way to the I-57 split, effectively cutting capacity in half. IDOT is encouraging a "cars off, trucks on" strategy by which trucks will continue to use the Ryan and all passenger cars find another way. In fact, IDOT estimates that the potential congestion will be so bad that they have set up a new website at to direct travelers to different routes. The primary detours are Ashland on the west and Lake Shore Drive/41 plus Stony Island and the Skyway on the east. Chicagoist has long made a habit of avoiding the Ryan anyway on our journeys east into Michigan and Indiana, and we can tell you that the LSD/41 route to the Skyway isn't exactly a breeze--unless of course you like 10,000 stoplights and potholes the size of Gov. Blagojevich's hair.

Chicagoist knows little about road engineering or the science of traffic management, but couldn't there have been another way? Did IDOT need to engage in a construction project so extensive and disruptive that they're encouraging people to stay away from the area's busiest roadway for two years? Just on a purely superficial level, is this any way to welcome our World Series champs back home, by fucking up the primary route to their ballpark? This is a giant middle finger pointed in the direction of the entire South Side and Northwest Indiana.

How many Chicagoist readers are affected by this, and how are you planning to cope?