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CTA, IDOT Avoid Major Traffic Snafu Later This Month

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 3, 2014 9:00PM

Photo credit: John Caruso

Construction work is set to begin on the Kennedy expressway that will entail rehabbing the Ontario Street feeder ramp and completely demolishing and replacing the Ohio Street bridge; both were originally built in 1959 and are in dire need of a 21st century facelift.

The construction over the next three weekends will shrink the standard five lanes of traffic in each direction on the Kennedy into two and will force motorists to seek alternative routes during some of the busiest leisure weekends of early summer. Chicago Blues Festival is next weekend. So is Taste of Randolph Street. Other festivals set to run during the designated construction period include Green Music Fest and Renegade Craft Fair the following weekend.

One problem: that weekend was also when Chicago Transit Authority was set to do some track work on the Blue Line between the Western and Logan Square stations. The thought of shuttle buses running down Milwaukee Avenue ferrying public transit riders through the northwest side while motorists avoid the parallel-running Kennedy had all the trappings of a cock-up of major proportions.

CTA announced they would postpone that track work until later in the summer. Spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski told RedEye the work, which was tentatively supposed to wrap up in August, would now end sometime in September.

The Illinois Department of Transportation, meanwhile, said their closures will also be dependent on weather conditions. If there are delays, the backup weekend dates are July 18, July 25 and Aug. 8.