suntimes
LENIENT 
Weather Updates

Bridge demolition speeds up, just 1 more weekend of downtown detours

 
5qbWlibjpEX8CNrI4F-JIhGneticwCpp

 

The Illinois Department Transportatibegan demolitiwork Ontario Street Bridge late Friday night process thwill snarl traffic for next three weekends I90/94.

The Illinois Department of Transportation began demolition work on the Ontario Street Bridge late Friday night in a process that will snarl traffic for the next three weekends on I90/94. Saturday, June 14, 2014 | Brian Jackson/ Sun-Times

storyidforme: 67859807
tmspicid: 24143452
fileheaderid: 11912126
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: July 17, 2014 11:18AM



Demolition work on the Ontario Street bridge progressed more quickly than expected over the weekend, and a much-prophesied traffic “Carmageddon” on the inbound Kennedy Expressway was largely avoided.

But drivers are not out of the woods yet.

Traffic on the Kennedy, which carries 260,000 vehicles on any given day, will again be detoured next weekend, as crews tackle the second leg of the bridge project, highway officials said Sunday.

Over the weekend, the detour involved inbound traffic. Next weekend, outbound motorists could suffer long delays when they are rerouted around the downtown demolition site.

It could be worse. Because the work is ahead of schedule, the timetable for completion was shortened from three weekends to two weekends, Illinois Department of Transportation officials said.

Meanwhile, traffic on the expressway was not that bad. Since late Friday, when inbound traffic was forced to bypass the expressway near Ohio Street, motorists largely avoided the Kennedy. In fact, traffic volume on the inbound side of the expressway was about a third less than on a typical June weekend.

“The message definitely got out. People looked for different driving routes, but many turned to” rail, said CTA spokesman Brian Steele, who added that Blue Line park-and-ride lots along the Kennedy were jammed full of cars on Saturday.

Officials for Metra and the CTA said they both saw higher-than-usual weekend ridership. Both agencies boosted their capacity by adding train cars and increasing route frequency.

Officials for the rail agencies said they plan to offer increased service when outbound lanes of the Kennedy are closed next weekend.

Email: bslodysko@suntimes.com

Twitter: @BrianSlodysko



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.