Major Bridge Rehab Project Beginning in IL


According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, an estimated $150 million project to rehabilitate 36 bridge structures and other repairs is scheduled to begin in Chicago later this month. The work will reportedly span the Kennedy Expressway from the Edens Expressway junction to Ohio Street.

The expressway was opened in November 1960, with the last major rehabilitation completed in 1994. The project is expected to improve safety, traffic flow and reliability for the more than 275,000 motorists who use the expressway each day, which feeds directly into O'Hare International Airport.

About the Project

Starting March 20, weather permitting, work will begin to take place over three consecutive construction season stages. In addition to bridge work, the project will include rehabilitating the Reversible Lane Access Control (REVLAC) system, replacing overhead sign-structures, installing new signage and modernized LED lights, pavement patching and structural painting.

Additionally, Hubbard’s Cave, from Grand Avenue to Wayman Street, will be painted and have new LED lighting installed. Reported project benefits include improved infrastructure, structural safety, reduced maintenance costs and reduced impacts to traffic during maintenance.

“These structures are more than 50 years old and were last repaired in 2012. Since then, the decks have begun to show signs of deterioration and the 2012 repairs have reached the end of their intended lifespan,” wrote IDOT.

“IDOT is now planning to make long-term improvements to improve the condition of the mainline Kennedy Expressway structures to help ease maintenance and ensure their continual service.”

Stage I, covering inbound Kennedy, will help minimize the impact to traffic. The reversible express lanes will remain open in the inbound direction, while two mainline inbound lanes will be closed at a time. 

According to IDOT, later this summer, painting and the installation of new LED lighting will begin on inbound Hubbard's Cave, between Ohio and Lake streets. Construction is anticipated to be completed later this fall, with all lanes and ramps reopening and the express lanes resuming normal operations.

For Stage II, the reversible express lanes will be closed to accommodate rehabilitation of the REVLAC system and bridge structures, along with pavement patching. Additionally, mainline lane closures will be needed to accommodate painting and the installation of new LED lighting in both directions of Hubbard's Cave.

Construction for this phase is anticipated to begin in spring 2024 and be completed in fall 2024.

Finally, in Stage III, construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2025 and be completed in late fall 2025 for work on outbound Kennedy. This will also involve new LED lighting installation and painting will be completed on outbound Hubbard's Cave.

According to reports, IDOT plans to demolish the bridge decks and then replace and repair the bridge joints. A latex concrete will then be installed to help give the bridges another 25 years of life, which are currently showing a “substantial amount of wear.”

IDOT notes that motorists should expect significant delays, strongly encouraging alternative routes or allowing extra time for trips through this area.

“It’s going to be a bit of a challenge, obviously, so we’re really asking people to adjust their times [and] consider public transportation if that’s an option for you,” Mary Castaneda, an IDOT spokesperson said.

Over the next six years, IDOT plans to improve more than 2,500 miles of roads and nearly 10 million square feet of bridges as part of Rebuild Illinois, which is investing $33.2 billion into all modes of transportation. Accomplishments through Year Three of Rebuild Illinois reportedly included approximately $8.6 billion of improvements statewide on 4,422 miles of highway, 412 bridges and 621 safety improvements.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Coating Application; Infrastructure; Maintenance coating work; Maintenance programs; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Roads/Highways; Transportation; Upcoming projects

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