Chicago Automates Expressway Lanes

by Rita Robison, Contributing Editor, Civil Engineering; 345 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1994, Vol. 64, Issue 9, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Chicago motorists will soon reclaim another rebuilt expressway in October with substantial completion of a $450 million, 7.5 mi portion of I90/94, the John F. Kennedy Expressway. The two center lanes are reversible with limited access, an innovation when the 10-lane expressway was dedicated in 1960. These will be controlled electronically by REVLAC (reversible lane control) system that features a series of gates at each entrance/exit, flashing signs and fail-safe barriers similar to catchers on aircraft carriers. The five year project, dubbed Operation Kennedy by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, has required four design consultants and four more engineering firms to oversee construction. Dividing the work into three phases, plus preliminary and post-construction periods, kept eight of the ten lanes open most of the time. Overall, several prime contractors, individually and in joint ventrue, and their subs have or will have replaced all jointed pavement with continuously reinforced concrete pavement, improved road drainage, rebuilt or redecked 25 bridges and 31 ramps, widened all shoulders to 12 ft, and rebuilt barriers. They will have also constructed two new sets of entrance/exit ramps, reconfigured the geometry of existing reversible lane ramps and installed the automated control system.

Subject Headings: Control systems | Concrete pavements | Automation | Highways and roads | Consulting services | Reinforced concrete | Highway barriers | Ramps (road) | Chicago | Illinois | United States

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