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IDOT releases 2006 schedule for major work on the Dan Ryan

Motorists and business leaders urged to plan ahead, avoid the Ryan

CHICAGO, March 2, 2006 – After several years of planning and preparation, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is set to perform major surgery on the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94) in both directions from 13th Street to the Bishop Ford (I-94) / I-57 Interchange on Chicago’s South Side during the 2006 and 2007 construction seasons.

“Drivers of passenger vehicles should avoid the Dan Ryan entirely,” said IDOT Secretary Tim Martin. While many motorists will use public transportation or IDOT-designated alternate routes, truckers will be urged to stay on the expressway because their vehicles are too heavy for local streets. “Our message is ‘Cars Off, Trucks On,” said Martin.

IDOT has spent the past two years preparing the Dan Ryan corridor for the 2006 and 2007 mainline reconstruction work. Advance contract reconstruction has been or is about to be completed in many areas along the Dan Ryan, including exit and entrance ramps, cross-street bridges. The advance work also included the interchange with the Chicago Skyway (I-90), which was rebuilt and reconfigured to improve traffic flow and safety.

IDOT also improved the frontage roads adjacent to the expressway, as required, including reconstruction and new signal timings on Lafayette, State and Wentworth and Wells between 67th Street and 47th Street, as well as the major alternate routes for the Ryan. In addition, IDOT representatives have attended hundreds of community meetings to explain the project.

“The Dan Ryan first opened more than 40 years ago and it is now feeling the effects of as many as 320,000 vehicles that travel the expressway every day,” said Martin. “That’s why IDOT is investing more than $600 million in the South Side to build a safer Dan Ryan, add a new lane in each direction, improve local access roads, and spur job creation and economic development.”

Getting through the two-year project is expected to be challenging. That’s why IDOT is getting out early with news and information about the project.

There is a way out. Reroute.
“Except for truckers, those who use the Dan Ryan should begin planning their commutes for the next two construction seasons,” according to Martin. “There is a way out. Reroute.” The official alternate routes are Ashland Avenue on the west for outbound passenger cars and the combination of Stony Island Avenue/South Lake Shore Drive on the east for inbound traffic. Motorists should consider using Metra, CTA or Pace.”

Even as some preliminary work continues through the winter, IDOT is scheduled to begin major reconstruction in late March 2006 (all dates are tentative; final schedules depend on weather and other factors). At that time, here’s what expressway drivers will find:

North Section—Dan Ryan Elevated Bridge (Between 13th Street and 28th Street)

  • Traffic will be reduced to three lanes in each direction for bridge rehabilitation on the inbound Dan Ryan. Delays should be expected.
     
  • Repairs will require short-term detours around temporarily closed ramps in the 2006 construction season, including:
     
    • The exit ramp from the outbound Stevenson Expressway (I-55) to the inbound Dan Ryan will be closed March to May.
       
    • The exit ramp from the inbound Stevenson to the inbound Dan Ryan will be closed from May to late June.
       
    • The exit ramp from the inbound Dan Ryan to the outbound Stevenson will be closed from early July to late August.
       
    • The entrance ramp from 18th Street to the inbound Dan Ryan will be closed from mid-July to the end of October.
       
    • The exit ramp from the inbound Dan Ryan to Roosevelt Rd. (1200 south) will be closed from mid-July to the end of August.
       
    • The exit ramp from the inbound Dan Ryan to Canalport Avenue will be closed from mid-September to the end of October.
       
    • The entrance ramp from Roosevelt Rd. (1200 south) to the inbound Dan Ryan will be closed from March to the end of October.

Middle Section—Dan Ryan Express Lanes 31st Street to 71st Street - 2006 Construction Season

  • Express lanes will be closed entirely in both directions for reconstruction; all traffic will be diverted to the three local lanes in each direction. Delays should be expected.
     
  • By September 15, 2006, IDOT expects to open one express lane, bringing the total number of open lanes to four in each direction.
     
  • Truckers will be urged to stay on the Dan Ryan while motorists should use alternate routes, other modes of transportation (CTA, Metra or PACE) or plan to travel outside of peak hours.
     
  • All exit and entrance ramps in this area will be open to traffic for the entire duration.

South Section—71st Street to the I-57/Bishop Ford Expressway (I-94) Interchange

  • South section work is tentatively scheduled to start in August 2006 and to continue through November 2007. During this time, the current outermost lane, a new auxiliary lane and the outer roadway shoulder will be constructed.
     
  • Traffic will be reduced to three lanes in each direction for reconstruction. Delays should be expected.
     
  • Ramp reconstructions will require short-term closures of numerous exits and entrances in the area that include:
     
    • Inbound: Entrance ramp from Halsted to I-57, the entrance ramp from 87th St., the entrance ramp from 75th St. and exit ramp to 71st St. will be closed January to May 2006. The entrance ramp from 95th St., the entrance ramp from 79th St., exit ramp to 76th St. will be closed May to October 2006. The exit ramp to 87th St. will close from January to July 2006.
       
    • Outbound: Exit ramp from I-57 to Wentworth Ave, exit ramp to 87th St., exit ramp to 75th St., and the entrance ramp from 71st St. all will close January to April 2006. Entrance ramp from 87th St. will close January to July 2006. Exit ramp from I-57 to Halsted will close July 2006. Exit ramp to 95th St. will close April to May 2006. Exit ramp to 79th St. and entrance ramp from 76th St. will close April to October 2006 (entrance ramp from 87th St. is now closed).
       
    • From August 2006 to November 2006, inbound and outbound ramps will be temporarily closed for a maximum of six weeks per location to complete connections to the new mainline pavement from the new ramps.
       
    • Drivers and residents should note that, to minimize impacts to traffic, no two consecutive entrances or no two consecutive exit ramps will be closed simultaneously.
       
  • Cross-street bridge reconstruction also is taking place in the area. The work includes:
     
    • Michigan Ave. over the Bishop Ford will close from March to July 2006; 91st St. will close from January to August 2006 ; 76th St. is closed now through July 2006; and 71st St. will undergo a staged construction partial closure (one half at a time) from March to October 2006.

As the main route into Chicago from the south, the Dan Ryan carries approximately 320,000 vehicles per day, even though it was designed more than 45 years ago for about 150,000 vehicles. It also has the distinction of being the busiest expressway in Chicago and ranks as one of the most congested in the U.S. The improved Dan Ryan will be safer, with improved landscaping and a new auxiliary lane in each direction from 31st to 95th streets and along I-57 from the I-94 Interchange to Halsted Street.

Along the Dan Ryan and other areas, drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution through construction zones, especially when workers are present. “Keep Us Alive / Drive 45” is IDOT’s campaign to keep workers and drivers safe in work zones. Unless posted otherwise, the speed limit in highway work zones is 45 mph. Illinois State Police have zero tolerance for drivers speeding in work zones. Signs warn drivers of a $10,000 fine and 14 years in jail for hitting a road worker. IDOT urges drivers to expect delays and allow extra travel time when traveling through any work zone.

To sign up for IDOT’s weekly email alert, containing updated information about lane and ramp closures, and to learn more about the project, please visit www.danryanexpressway.com. Updated project information is also available toll-free at (877) 411-IDOT.

The Dan Ryan project has been recognized as the one of the largest green construction projects in the nation. Under the IDOT’s Clean Air Construction Initiative, heavy construction equipment on the Dan Ryan project has been retrofitted with devices designed to reduce harmful emissions or use ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) which is significantly cleaner than regular diesel fuel. IDOT also instituted idling limits and dust controls in order to reduce construction-related air emissions.


 

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