Circle Interchange renamed for former mayor Jane Byrne

Construction along the Eisenhower Expressway

Gov. Pat Quinn renamed the Circle Interchange for Jane Byrne, Chicago’s only female mayor. Photo: Timothy Nguyen

 

The Circle Interchange Construction Project is now in its second year, with one big change: on Aug. 29, the meeting place of four major Chicago thoroughfares became known as the Jane Byrne Interchange.

Gov. Pat Quinn renamed the interchange — where Congress Parkway and the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Dan Ryan expressways join — for Chicago’s only woman mayor.

“We decided the Jane Byrne Interchange would be the right name for coming together, a bridge that brought people together,” Quinn said of Byrne, who served from April 1979 to April 1983.

The $475 million project, slated for completion in 2018, will add lanes to expressways and ramps to improve safety and mobility.

The project is being implemented in three stages. The current work involves the bridges across the Ryan at Harrison and Halsted streets and across the Eisenhower at Peoria and Morgan streets. The second stage focuses on the Eisenhower (I-290), its ramps and Congress Parkway. The final stage is reconstruction of the Dan Ryan/Kennedy Expressways (I-90/94) and ramps.

The Morgan Street Bridge is scheduled to be completed in late October. The bridge has been closed periodically on weekends as workers pour concrete for sidewalks and street.

The shuttered Peoria Street Bridge and CTA Blue Line Station will reopen in late December 2014 or early January 2015 with an improved walkway. The reconstructed CTA station will include a new elevator for accessibility.

Work on the northbound lanes of the Halsted Street Bridge is expected to be completed later this year. The second phase, the southbound lanes, is anticipated to be finished in March 2015. The CTA Blue Line Station will remain open during both phases of work.

The Jane Byrne Interchange has not undergone major construction since it opened in the early 1960s. According to the American Transportation Research Institute and the Federal Highway Administration, the interchange is one of the most congested highway freight bottlenecks in the country. An average of more than 1,100 crashes are reported annually at the interchange, which carries more than 400,000 vehicles each day, including 33,000 trucks.