Jane Byrne Circle Interchange: Critical Improvements to a Vital Junction

The I-90/94 at I-290 Circle Interchange, also known as the Jane Byrne Interchange, is a major freeway interchange in the heart of downtown Chicago. It’s a critical connection for the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94), the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94), the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), and Congress Parkway.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Jane Byrne Interchange is the slowest and most congested highway freight bottleneck in the nation. More than 400,000 vehicles travel through the interchange daily, and on average, more than 1,100 crashes are reported per year. It’s a notorious traffic jam, and according to the US Department of Transportation, it accounts for approximately 25 million lost hours each year.

Jane Byrne Circle Interchange

 

Despite being one of the most congested interchanges in the nation, the interchange has not had a major rehabilitation since its initial construction more than fifty years ago. The interchange is reaching the end of its engineering life. For that reason, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has invested in turning those single lane ramps and tight curves into a more operational, easy to use, and safer interchange.

Much Needed Improvements

This significant project improves the Interchange’s overall safety, capacity, and geometric deficiencies. Work includes the removal, reconstruction and reconfiguration of seven interchange ramps and one mainline I-290 bridge.

Previously the ramps in the interchange were single lanes with narrow shoulders, which would cause massive traffic backups, especially in the event of a disabled vehicle. This project will widen ramps and create sufficient shoulders, which allow disabled vehicles to pull over in a safe area. This prevents lane shutdowns and traffic pile ups due to traffic incidents, and IDOT anticipates this work to reduce traffic delays by more than 50%.

Jane Byrne Circle Interchange with Chicago Skyline in the Background

 

OMEGA’s Role

OMEGA was selected by IDOT as the prime consultant to provide Phase III Construction Engineering Services for this project. The firm has completed construction oversight for the NW Flyover Ramp from Northbound Dan Ryan to Westbound Eisenhower and Ramp NE from Northbound Dan Ryan to Eastbound Congress Parkway

OMEGA is currently providing construction oversight on:

  • WB I-290 mainline pavement reconstruction from I-90/94 to Morgan Street
  • Eastbound I-290 Bridge over I-90/94
  • Ramp WS from Westbound Congress Parkway to Southbound I-90/94
  • Ramp WN from Westbound Congress Parkway to Northbound I-90/94
  • Ramp SE from Southbound I-90/94 to Eastbound Congress Parkway
  • Westbound Congress Viaduct Bridge
  • New Taylor Bypass Ramp from SB I-90/94 to the Taylor Street Exit

The Circle Interchange projects present many exciting and unique engineering challenges. To name a few, the interchange:

  • connects three different interstates;
  • is in a tight, downtown area;
  • works around public transit;
  • includes multiple bridges;
  • involves working with a city water pumping station;
  • is a high traffic interchange that must keep traffic flowing throughout the length of the project.

To effectively navigate these challenges, OMEGA works closely with key stakeholders to ensure successful coordination and project delivery. For the Circle Interchange projects, OMEGA collaborates extensively with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), FHWA, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Office of Underground Coordination (OUC), University of Illinois at Chicago, and twelve adjacent IDOT Circle Interchange reconstruction projects.

OMEGA is honored to be serving IDOT on one of the largest highway construction projects in the Chicagoland area, providing engineering excellence and infrastructure solutions to this complex and unique project.

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