Chicago bypass upgrade

Chicago’s bypass is being widened and upgraded
Road Structures / May 14, 2020 50 seconds Read
By MJ Woof
Chicago will benefit from upgrades to the I-294 bypass - image © courtesy of Libux77,

Construction work is being carried out at present on the I-294 bypass running around Chicago, Illinois. The work is being carried out on a 35km section of the route, which will improve capacity.

Widening work will see the route featuring five lanes in either direction for use by buses and emergency vehicles. Some stretches will have six lanes in either direction. The upgrade will include ‘flex lanes’ . The project to boost capacity for the Central Tri-State Tollway is costing US$4 billion.

The work is being carried out between Balmoral Avenue in the north (which is close to O’Hare Airport) and the Oak Lawn-Hickory area in the south. One of the biggest parts of the job is the rebuilding of the section where I-88 and I-290 meet with I-294. As Chicago’s massive O’Hare Airport is the sixth busiest in the world, traffic volumes to and from the facility can be particularly heavy.

The work is intended to reduce traffic delays for drivers. The route carries around 155,000 vehicles/day and suffers heavy congestion at peak periods. Once the upgrade is complete, congestion should be reduced by anything from 25-55%.

The upgrade works will also improve the environmental aspects of the route. Noise retention systems will be installed while tailings ponds will reduce issues of contamination from water run-off.

Construction work is expected to be complete by late 2025 or early 2026.