The Illinois Department of Transportation will begin engineering studies for a major reconstruction of the Circle Interchange where the Kennedy, Dan Ryan and Eisenhower expressways converge, along with Congress Parkway, state Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said today.
More than 300,000 vehicles a day use the interchange, which is regarded as one of the nation's worst bottlenecks, Schneider said at an Earth Day "Transportation Summit" of more than 100 leaders from Chicago area transportation agencies.
A joint venture of AECOM and TranSystems will conduct a $40 million engineering analysis to identify the scope of the improvements and the potential cost and construction schedule, Schneider said.
The studies will take approximately two years to complete. During the study process, IDOT will seek input from the City of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, the University of Illinois at Chicago and nearby neighborhoods and businesses.
"Anyone who has driven in Chicago will tell you the Circle Interchange is one of the toughest traffic spots," Schneider said in a statement.
Built more than 50 years ago, the Circle Interchange's high traffic volumes, single lane ramps and tight curves make it highly prone to delays and congestion, according to IDOT. Delays caused by the interchange average nearly 10 minutes a day per vehicle, for a combined 25 million hours annually. Most of the interchange’s key components have not been improved since they were first built in the 1950s and 1960s, IDOT said.
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