CHICAGO - The Jackson Boulevard and Adams Street bridges over the Kennedy Expressway have reopened as the major work of the sprawling Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction nears completion.
Later this month, the Jackson ramp and the Adams ramp to the outbound Kennedy are scheduled to reopen, providing access to Washington Boulevard and Madison and Lake streets, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation.
With that, the eight-year Jane Byrne Interchange project will be "substantially completed," IDOT said in a statement Monday.
"Substantial completion means travel lanes, entrance and exits ramps will be open, and no extended daytime lane closures," IDOT said. "Weather permitting, we are on track to meet that timeline.
"As with any major project, there will be punch list items," the agency cautioned, "including some electrical work that will require various short-term closures, as well as landscaping and painting that will start in spring 2023. The landscaping and painting will have no daytime traffic impacts."
The ambitious project to overhaul the entire interchange where three interstates meet began in 2013 and was initially slated for completion in 2017 at a cost of $535 million.
Due to a variety of factors, including abandoning an expedited timetable to minimize impact on daily traffic, project planners later estimated it would be finished in late 2022 at a cost of $794 million.
IDOT officials anticipate changes to the interchange will reduce serious injury crashes by 25% and reduce overall congestion by 50%. About 400,000 motorists use the interchange daily, according to IDOT.
The Jackson and Adams bridges, which opened Thursday, are wider with two travel lanes and 10-foot-wide sidewalks, along with a dedicated bike lane on the Jackson Boulevard bridge, according to the IDOT.
The rebuilt bridges also include new retaining and noise walls and new lighting, pavement and signs between Halsted and Des Plaines streets, IDOT said.
IDOT warned that despite the openings, motorists should expect "significant delays" in the area at least through the month.