• September 26, 2023

Metra Adds Trains, Pace Offers Alternatives to Kennedy Expressway

With a years-long construction project on the Kennedy Expressway slated to begin Monday, likely causing major delays and increased travel times, transit agencies are offering their services to help commuters find alternatives to the traffic headaches.

Pace joined that group with a press release on Monday, reminding suburban residents that the agency offers multiple routes that provide service not just to suburban train stations, but also into Chicago’s downtown area.

The agency’s buses can drive on the shoulders of several highways, including the Jane Addams Tollway (Interstate 90), the Edens Expressway (Interstate 94), and the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55) to bypass traffic during commutes.

Pace says commuters can use its trip planning tool on its website, and fares can be purchased via the Ventra app, which also can be used to pay for CTA or Metra travel. That app can be found both on Google Play and in Apple’s App Store.

Commuters can also use additional train service to bypass the Kennedy headaches. According to a press release, beginning on April 3, Metra will add 12 existing trains to its Union Pacific Northwest Line each weekday.

The revised schedule will provide commuters train service at least every 30 minutes during the morning and evening rush hours, along with hourly service at most stations during off peak hours.

A years-long Kennedy Expressway construction project is slated to kick off next week, marking the beginning of what will be a series of lane closures for the highly-trafficked roadway.

“Metra has been monitoring ridership as well as customer feedback, and these schedule changes respond to ridership trends and increase capacity and convenience by expanding peak period as well as off-peak service,” Metra CEO and Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in a news release. “And with a major multiyear rehab project scheduled to start on the Kennedy Expressway, this new schedule allows Metra to provide more commuters with a viable and much less stressful alternative to driving.”

As part of the expansion, three new trains will depart Chicago between 3 and 5 p.m., with one train set to leave for McHenry at 3:22 p.m., according to Metra. Additional express service options will be added for Arlington Heights commuters, with a new inbound train scheduled to depart at 7:25 a.m. and an additional outbound train scheduled for 5:07 p.m.

Finally, the Chicago Transit Authority offers a trip planner of its own on its website, with the agency’s Blue Line train running down a significant stretch of the Kennedy Expressway to provide service into downtown Chicago.

A years-long construction project on the Kennedy Expressway is slated to begin next week, NBC 5’s Kye Martin reports.

The first lane closures of the years-long Kennedy project are set to begin at 10 p.m. Monday. The construction will focus on a 7.5-mile stretch of the highway between Lawrence Avenue and Ohio Street, with lane closures and traffic impacts expected to last through at least 2025.

Beginning Tuesday morning, the two left lanes of the inbound side of the highway will be closed, and the reversible express lanes will be set to the inbound direction of traffic for the remainder of the year, according to IDOT.

Once that construction is completed, focus will turn to the express lanes, then to the outbound side to finish the project by 2025, according to the estimated time of completion.

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