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Holiday Traffic On The Way

By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 27, 2010 4:40PM

Photo by CarusoPhoto
It's Memorial Day weekend, the start of the traditional summer traveling season, as well as a three-day holiday weekend for lots of folks. And that also means traffic. Throw in a visit from the President, all that construction, and a new report about truck bottlenecks and you've got yourself a recipe for lots of traffic news. IDOT Communications Manager Josh Kauffman told The Expired Meter, “Plan on the whole weekend being very busy. I think it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration.” And expect traffic to start getting worse this afternoon as people head out early for an even longer weekend. Joe Collins, WBBM Newsradio 780’s traffic reporter, told the Meter, "People try to avoid Friday’s traffic by taking an extra day off and leaving Thursday." Adding to the congestion will be plenty of construction projects, including the ongoing Eisenhower resurfacing. Oh, and with it being a holiday weekend, expect a few DUI checkpoints as well as a step up in the enforcement of the state's Click It Or Ticket campaign.

This all comes on the heels of a new report by the Federal Highway Administration that Chicago has three of the worst 10 truck bottlenecks, including the top two. Per the Tribune:

No. 1 on the list is the junction between the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate Highway 290) and the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways (Interstate Highway 90/94) in downtown known as the Circle Interchange.

The average speed in this highway corridor is only 30 mph, and it dips down to an average of 23 mph during rush periods, according to the study, which the Federal Highway Administration conducted with the American Transportation Research Institute, a trucking industry group. The findings are based on 2009 data.

And of course, there's the Presidential visit. The Obamas are scheduled to arrive at O'Hare at 7:15 p.m. tonight. It's not known how the First Family will be transported into town: motorcade or, like last time, via helicopter to the Loop and then via motorcade to their Hyde Park home. But either way, there will be something of a traffic snarl later tonight associated with the arrival. No details have been released for the President's travel schedule for tomorrow during which Obama will leave Chicago to visit the Gulf Coast and then return home.