Decoding Chicago Traffic Reports by inspiremechicago

VIEWS: 164 PAGES: 25




INTRO                                       …page 3

FAQ                                         …page 4-5

MAJOR CHICAGOLAND ROADWAYS                  …pages 6-24

      Edens (I-94)
      Kennedy (I-90/94)
      Eisenhower (I-290)
      Stevenson (I-55)
      Dan Ryan (I-90/94)
      Bishop Ford (I-94)
      Lake Shore Drive
      Tristate Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80)
      Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88)
      Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90)
      Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355)
      Edens Spur (I-94)
      Chicago Skyway (I-90)
      Elgin O‟Hare
      Northwest Indiana

HELPFUL TRAFFIC RESOURCES                   …page 25
Hey Chicago Drivers,

Even if you‟re from Chicago, listening to traffic reports can be very
confusing! For some, it‟s a bunch of gibberish jammed into a short minute.
If you don‟t know what to listen for, it‟s honestly pretty worthless.

So often, people ask me questions like these:
     -Who is this Jane Addams and where is her tollway?
     -Is Gaper an expressway?
     -Where on earth is the Bishop Ford?

That‟s why I decided to put together this handy little guide! I‟ll break it all
down with maps and detailed descriptions of the major roadways in the
Chicago area. After reading through it, you‟ll know the names, numbers
and nicknames of all the roads! (The Northwest Tollway, The Jane Addams
Tollway and I-90 are all the same road! Not confusing at all, right! )

So print this out if you want-- share it with your friends! Hopefully it will
help prevent you from pulling your hair out everytime you hear words like
“the junction”, “gapers” and “the merge”.

Unfortunately, this awesome guide won‟t prevent horrible Chicago traffic. It
will always be bad. But now, you‟ll know *how bad! You‟ll be informed and
you can impress all your friends with your wealth of knowledge about
Chicago traffic. Just don‟t get cocky and try to take my job;)

Sarah Jindra
                      FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: How are the travel times determined?
A: There are sensors in the roadways that track how fast or slow drivers
are going. Really smart people created equations that automatically
calculate travel times based on the sensor data.

Q: I always miss my road! How do I know when it‟s coming?
A: I read travel times in the same order every single report. Most other
traffic reporters in Chicago have an order they use as well. Find out what
the road before yours is, and listen up!

Q: Why didn‟t you mention my road?
A: I only get one minute to get everything in and read my sponsor. Most
likely, if I skip your road, it‟s fine. If I skip it and it‟s not fine, I just didn‟t
have time. Sorry!

Q: What‟s a gapers delay?
A: When people cause a delay by stopping to look at an accident or police
activity. For example, there can be WB gapers delays due to an EB
accident. Stop “gaping” and drive people!

Q: Where‟s the junction?
A: That‟s where the Kennedy and the Edens meet.

Q: What‟s the difference between the Loop and the Circle?
A: The Circle is where the Eisenhower, Dan Ryan and Kennedy meet.
From above, it looks like a circle and some know it as the spaghetti bowl.
The Loop is east of the Circle. The name originated because of the loop
formed by the CTA „el‟ tracks.

Q: What‟s the extension?
A: The part of The Eisenhower (I-290) that runs between I-355 and I-294.
Q: What‟s the Hubbard Cave?
A: Also known as the Hubbard Tunnel, it‟s on the Kennedy between
Hubbard and Wayman St.

Q: Where are the Mile Long Bridge and the Bensenville Bridge?
A: Both are on I-294. The Mile Long Bridge runs between LaGrange and
I-55. The Bensenville Bridge is just south of O‟Hare and carries the I-294
over Metra tracks and Mannheim.

Q: Where‟s the Oak St. curve?
A: It‟s the large curve on LSD at Oak St. We tend to see a lot of accidents
there, especially in the winter.

Q: Where‟s the Steel Bridge?
A: It‟s the bridge that carries the Bishop Ford over the Calumet River.

Q: What‟s “The Merge”?
A: That‟s where the Bishop Ford and I-57 merge into the Dan Ryan.

Q: What is the intersection known as “Six Corners”?
A: It‟s the three way intersection on the NW side of Irving Park, Milwaukee
and Cicero.

Q: Where‟s the Old Post Office?
A: As you enter the city on I-290, you‟ll pass under the Old Post Office just
after passing by the Circle. It‟s between Canal and the River.

Q: What‟s the old Hillside Strangler?
A: Where I-88 merges into I-290 in Hillside. That merge used to be worse
and people called it the Hillside Strangler. After reconstruction of that area,
many people stopped using the term.
                           THE EDENS EXPRESSWAY

*Travel Times are given between Lake Cook Rd. and the Kennedy (or the Junction)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 15 minutes
                          THE KENNEDY EXPRESSWAY

*Travel Times are given between OHare (at the I-190 ramps) and The Circle (Downtown)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 20 minutes

 *Travel Times are also given between Montrose and Downtown
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 12 minutes

*The Kennedy also has Express Lanes (or Reversibles) which only run one direction at a time
between Montrose and the Ohio/Ontario Feeder ramps
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 10 minutes

**Typically, the express lanes flow IB during the morning rush and then get reversed to flow OB
during the afternoon rush
                       THE EISENHOWER EXPRESSWAY

*Travel Times are given between Wolf and The Circle (or Downtown)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 15 minutes

*Travel Times may also be given between Thorndale and Downtown (or the Circle)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 30 minutes

*Travel Times may also be given between Woodfield and Downtown (or the Circle)

**The Eisenhower “Extension” runs between I-355 and I-294
** IL-53 joins I-290 at Biesterfield and continues as an expressway traveling north to Dundee
                        THE STEVENSON EXPRESSWAY

*Travel Times are given between I-294 and LSD (or downtown)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 20 minutes

*Travel Times may also be given between I-355 and LSD (or downtown)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 30 minutes

** The Stevenson is technically the stretch of I-55 between I-294 and LSD. West of I-294, it is just
                         THE DAN RYAN EXPRESSWAY

*Travel Times are given between 95th and The Circle (or Downtown)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 15 minutes

**The Dan Ryan also has express lanes that run between 31st and 67th. These are not like the
“reversibles” on the Kennedy. These express lanes run both directions at all times.
                        THE BISHOP FORD FREEWAY

*Travel Times are given between I-80 and the Dan Ryan (or The Merge)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 15 minutes

*Travel Times are given between I-80 and the Dan Ryan (or The Merge)
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 15 minutes

*I-57 continues south through Illinois
                                 LAKE SHORE DRIVE
North End                                       South End

*Travel Times can be given on the north end between Hollywood and Balbo
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 13 minutes

*Travel Times can also be given on the south end between Marquette and Monroe
*BASE TRAVEL TIME: 13 minutes

** LSD is also known as US-41 south of Foster
(split into 3 maps because it‟s so long!)
                             THE TRISTATE TOLLWAY

*The Tri-State Tollway starts just south of the Wisconsin state line and runs all the way down to the
Bishop Ford (I-94).
                     THE REAGAN MEMORIAL TOLLWAY

*I-88 runs just east of the Iowa state line to I-294

*BEYOND THE MAP: I-88 continues west of the Aurora Toll, with the DeKalb Oasis, DeKalb Toll Plaza
and Dixon Toll Plaza

**Formerly known as the East-West Tollway

*The Jane Addams Memorial Tollway runs just south of the Wisconsin state line to I-190

*BEYOND THE MAP: I-90 continues west of the Elgin Toll, with the EB Marengo Toll, Belvidere Oasis,
WB Belvidere Toll and the South Beloit Toll

*Formerly known as the Northwest Tollway

*The Veterans Memorial Tollway runs between Army Trail Rd. and I-80

**Formerly known as the North-South Tollway

**The extension on the south end between I-55 and I-80 opened in 2007
                                   THE EDENS SPUR

*The Edens Spur connects traffic between The Tristate Tollway and the Edens
                                 THE CHICAGO SKYWAY

*The Chicago Skyway runs between the Dan Ryan and the Indiana Toll Road (at the IL/IN border)

**It is not run by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority; it is privately run

*I-190 connects the O‟Hare Airport to I-90
                      THE ELGIN O‟HARE EXPRESSWAY

*Runs between Lake St and Rohlwing Rd

** The Elgin O‟Hare Expressway doesn‟t run to Elgin or O‟Hare Airport

*I-80 runs from California to New Jersey

*It is known as the Kingery Expressway between the Bishop Ford and the Indiana State Line. East of
there, it becomes The Borman Expressway

**The Kingery Expressway is different than the Kingery Highway (which is IL-83 in DuPage County)
                                 NORTHWEST INDIANA

*The Indiana Toll Road (I-90) runs from the Illinois state line to the Ohio state line

*The Borman Expressway is the stretch of 80-94 that runs between the state line and I-90. It
continues east as I-94 and travels into Michigan

*I-65 starts at I-90 and runs south through Alabama
                               HELPFUL TRAFFIC RESOURCES

      -Maps and camera shots of roadways in Chicago and Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan
      -Travel times on major expressways and tollways

      -Lists current IDOT construction projects in Illinois by district

-ILLINOIS TOLLWAY:,1399546&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
       -Maps of construction projects on the Illinois tollway system

      -Sign up for alerts specific to your neighborhood
      -This includes events or incidents that may cause heavy traffic or closures

      -Check all delays and alerts on CTA trains and buses
      -You can also click on “News & Initiatives” to read press releases about upcoming projects

     -All reported Metra delays are listed at this link
     -You can also click on “Newsroom” to read press releases about upcoming projects

      -Lists any changes to typical routes

      -Lists any reported delays at airports in the US

     -Lists any reported accidents in DuPage County

      -Map of Lake County traffic and incidents
      -Also shows updated camera views of many intersections/roadways in Lake County

     -Map and camera shots of traffic on 80/94 and I-65

     -Map and camera shots of Michigan with incidents, alerts and construction projects

      -Map and camera shots of Michigan with incidents, alerts and construction projects

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