CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The passage of the infrastructure bill in Washington has local elected officials, transportation officials and labor unions looking to get moving on the reconstruction of the Eisenhower Expressway.
“We love the Ike but the Ike don’t love us,” Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch said about traveling on Interstate 290.
Welch was late for a downtown news conference regarding the subject because of traffic on the Eisenhower.
“When constructed, the Ike was designed to handle 40,000 vehicles per day. Now, it’s carrying 200,000 vehicles per day. And we’re wondering why it’s so congested,” he said.
A report on the Eisenhower just released by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute found that 90% of the underlying pavement and foundation are 50 years old.
Eighty-six percent of the bridges are “functionally obsolete” and 34% are “structurally deficient.”
Those advocating for the rebuild note the benefit to the economy and safety and the benefit to minority residents displaced and disconnected when the Eisenhower was built.
The plan is to rebuild it all between Hillside and the Jane Byrne Interchange.