CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - State transportation officials faced frustration Thursday night over the Jane Byrne Interchange project. They came face to face with angry residents who live near the construction work.
The public came out for what was essentially a two hour open house hosted by the Illinois Department of Transportation, held at the UIC Forum. They talked about the Jane Byrne Interchange project. IDOT officials laid out the reasons why it's going to take another three years to complete the project.
Helen Straus came seeking answers. She and her South Loop neighbors have been inconvenienced for years by the roadwork.
"For my neighborhood, three out of the four access ramps to the Dan Ryan are closed and have been closed for months to years, and so if I get off at alternate exits, then I have to go an extra 15 Chicago stop lights approximately, sometimes it's 13,” said Straus.
Some in the West Loop also hate the roadwork. They can feel vibrations and say it's noisy. The Jane Byrne Interchange project got underway in 2013 with work on the Morgan Street Bridge. Six years later, it's not even close to being done, and the price tag has gone up from $535 million to $713 million.
The project started back in 2013 with work on the Morgan Street Bridge The Jane Byrne Interchange, previously called the Circle Interchange, was built in the 1950s. Located downtown, it links the Eisenhower, the Dan Ryan and the Kennedy. The project aims to improve safety, congestion and overall mobility of the public. But those who’ve been traveling it lately, have been bottle-necked big time because of reduced lanes, and we’re hearing the work will still take another three years. It’s been much slower than anticipated. IDOT was asked why they didn’t just shut down the interchange for a time, to speed things up.
"The project could've been done faster, yes. I mean if we would've shut the whole interchange down, there would've been a major impact to all those 400-thousand vehicles getting in and out of the city,” said Anthony Quigley/IDOT Region I Engineer.
Engineers say they've had to work slower than anticipated to try to keep things open as much as possible... with key stages set to be finish this year.
"Both inbound and outbound I-290 will be complete. We look to open up the second lane on the north to west flyover from the Dan Ryan to the outbound Eisenhower in the fall also,” said Quigley.
Posters that were on display at the UIC Forum showed the project step by step. You can see the posters and more details about the project at www.circleinterchange.org