Interstate 290 (Illinois)

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Interstate 290 marker

Eisenhower Expressway
Congress Expressway
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length: 29.84 mi[1] (48.02 km)
Existed: 1955 (finished 1972) – present
Major junctions
West end: I-90 / IL 53 in Rolling Meadows
  I-355 / US 20 in Addison
US 20 in Elmhurst
US 20 / IL 64 in Elmhurst
I-294 in Hillside
I-88 / IL 110 in Hillside
US 12 / US 20 / US 45 in Hillside
East end: I-90 / I-94 / IL 110 in Chicago
Highway system
I-280 I-294

Interstate 290 (abbreviated I-290) is a main Interstate freeway that runs westwards from the Chicago Loop. The portion of I-290 from Interstate 294 to its east end is officially called the Eisenhower Expressway. In short form, it is known as "the Ike" or the Eisenhower. Before being designated the Eisenhower Expressway, the highway was called the Congress Expressway because of the surface street that was located approximately in its path and onto which I-290 runs at its eastern terminus in the Chicago Loop.

Interstate 290 connects Interstate 90 (the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) in Rolling Meadows, Illinois with Interstate 90/Interstate 94 (the John F. Kennedy Expressway / Dan Ryan Expressway) near the Loop. North of Interstate 355, the freeway is sometimes known locally as Illinois Route 53, or simply Route 53, since Illinois 53 existed before Interstate 290. However, it now merges with I-290 at Biesterfield Road. In total, Interstate 290 is 29.84 miles (48.02 km) long.[1]

Route description[edit]

Jane Addams Memorial Tollway to Veterans Memorial Tollway[edit]

Interstate 290 at its northern terminus, the interchange with Illinois Route 53 and Interstate 90, in Schaumburg.
Interstate 290 at mile marker 4, looking north toward Schaumburg

This section is 7 miles (11 km) long and runs from Rolling Meadows to Addison. It is the portion of I-290 more locally known as "Route 53." Here, Interstate 290 runs largely above-grade through Schaumburg, Illinois and Elk Grove Village, and at-or-below grade through Itasca and Addison.

The northern 5 miles (8.0 km) of this highway were reconstructed in 2003-2004. A left shoulder and an auxiliary lane between ramps were added, as well as improved lighting. The highway is four lanes wide (not counting the auxiliary lane) north of the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway / Thorndale Avenue (mile marker 5), and five lanes wide with a wide left shoulder south to the exit to Interstate 355.

Between mile markers zero and four, Illinois Route 53 overlaps this section of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Eisenhower Extension[edit]

This section is 11 miles (18 km) long and runs from Addison to Hillside. It took its name when the Eisenhower was extended northwest from Hillside. The highway runs largely at-grade or above-grade for this length. U.S. Route 20 on overlaps I-290 around Elmhurst from mile markers 12 to 13, and runs parallel to the rest of this section between mile markers seven and 18.

This section of I-290 varies in width from two lanes at the ramp east from the I-290/I-355 split, to three lanes between I-355 and U.S. Route 20, to three lanes plus two exit lanes at U.S. Route 20/Illinois Route 64 (Lake Street / North Avenue) (exit 13B). After exit 13B, the highway reverts to three thru traffic lanes. Exit 15 to southbound Interstate 294 is a frequent point of congestion due to ramp traffic backing up onto the mainline highway, often as long as 2 miles (3.2 km). This is because the ramp is not isolated from the mainline, only one lane in width, is a low-speed ramp (marked as a 35 mph (56 km/h) ramp), and is relatively short (1/4 mile, or 1/2 km) while carrying a high volume of truck traffic south to Indiana from North Avenue. Additionally, the sudden appearance of the exit tends to cause accidents when cars in the center lane try to aggressively turn into the right lane, particularly at the mouth of the I-294 exit. Finally, there is a dangerous high-volume weaving situation at the end of the ramp to I-294 with southbound I-294 traffic exiting to westbound Interstate 88. As of 2006, there are no plans to overcome any of these problems with new construction.

The western 3 miles (4.8 km) of this section are blacktop, while east of Illinois Route 83 (exit 10) the original concrete is still in place.

Tri-State Tollway to Austin Boulevard[edit]

I-290 in Oak Park

This section of I-290 is 7 miles (11 km) long, and it runs from Hillside all the way to the western border of Chicago. This section is sometimes referred to as "The Avenues". As of 2002, it is the third-most congested stretch of highway in the Chicago area, behind the Circle Interchange area and the intersection of the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Chicago Skyway.[2] It is known for having a high volume of traffic on ramps through the Avenues, and high volumes of traffic on left-side ramps in Forest Park and Oak Park. Interstate 290 runs above grade west of Mannheim Road, and at or below grade east of Mannheim Road.

Eastbound at Mannheim Road (exit 17), the highway splits into two express and one local lane; they are joined by two onramps from Interstate 88 and form express lanes three lanes wide and local lanes to Mannheim Road two lanes wide. After Mannheim Road, the highway immediately narrows to three lanes in width, causing mile-long (1.6 km) backups. It remains three lanes to Austin Boulevard. Westbound, I-290 merely is three lanes wide to Mannheim Road, and then four lanes wide to the I-88/I-290 split. Exits at Harlem Avenue (exit 21B) and Austin Boulevard (exit 23) are left offramps and onramps, causing backups as trucks switch lanes to exit, and a large volume of traffic enters on the left side of the highway.

In 2001–2002, this section between mile markers 15 and 18 was reconstructed in the first phase of an attempt to untangle the "Hillside Strangler", adding the local lanes and extra on-ramp to Interstate 290. The second phase, reconstruction of the highway between mile markers 18 and 23 (Mannheim Road to Austin Boulevard), is still in the preliminary engineering phase of construction as of April 2009.

Austin Boulevard to Chicago Loop[edit]

Interstate 290 at mile marker 28, looking east toward downtown Chicago

The easternmost section of I-290 is 7 miles (11 km) long and runs entirely through the city of Chicago to the terminus at Interstate 90/94. It runs below grade for its entire length.

This highway is four lanes wide in both directions for its entire length, and most on-ramps and off-ramps are located just two blocks apart. Therefore, an exit in one direction may be marked one street (ex. Laramie Avenue), while the same exit in the other direction may be marked another (ex. Cicero Avenue), even though the streets are only a block apart. This configuration results in most exits on this portion of road being marked as A/B exits.

Eastbound congestion is lighter here than through the "Avenues", generally limited to congestion on the tight onramps to the John F. Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways (the Circle Interchange) at the eastern terminus or a blind onramp at Kostner Avenue. Westbound, congestion is heavy starting at Laramie due to the left-hand exit at Austin (which combines a "perfect storm" of a four-down-to-three lane reduction, an unfamiliar left-hand exit, and entrance and in-merging traffic of the central onramp). Most afternoons, this bottleneck can skyrocket the "Post Office to Wolf (Road)" commute time to over an hour (up from 16 mins with no traffic).

The Eisenhower Expressway runs along blacktop pavement for the length of the section, except between Kostner Avenue and Independence Boulevard, where it runs on concrete pavement.

The eastern terminus of I-290 is the Circle Interchange with I-90/I-94. After this junction, the route becomes an elevated and continues as a highway until LaSalle Street, at which point it passes under LaSalle Street Station and comes out the other side as a city street (Congress Parkway). The Congress Parkway route continues east until the street is stopped by Buckingham Fountain.[3]

I-290, just west of the Loop.

The Chicago Transit Authority maintains the Congress Line from the loop west to Des Plaines Avenue, Forest Park that enters the median of the Eisenhower near Halsted Street and stays within the median through the Cicero station. After Cicero, the line leaves the median and closely parallels the Eisenhower for the rest of its route.

History[edit]

An expressway along the alignment of the Eisenhower Expressway was foreshadowed by Daniel Burnham's plan of 1909, which described a west side boulevard. The passageway under the old Post Office was designed to preserve the right of way for the future road.[4]

The Expressway is named for the former President Dwight D. Eisenhower; it originally was called the Congress Expressway because It begins on Congress Parkway in Chicago. The political columnist Mike Royko joked that it is Chicago's only Republican expressway, since the others all named after Democrats (though since that observation Bishop Louis Henry Ford, a non-political figure, had an expressway named in his honor). The first segment, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in length opened from Mannheim Road to 1st Avenue in December 1955.[5] On December 15, an additional 4 miles (6.4 km) was opened, from Ashland Avenue (1600 West) to Laramie Avenue (5200 West).[6]

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Eisenhower Expressway was extended to Lake Street and North Avenue. In 1963, the first working example of ramp metering took place on the Eisenhower Expressway, based on successful metering through New York City tunnels and data from ramp closures in Detroit, Michigan. The first implementation utilized a police officer at the top of an entrance ramp, stopping and releasing vehicles onto the highway at a predetermined rate.[7] Another section opened in 1972, to a north–south expressway in Addison, Illinois. At the time, this expressway was a short spur from the Eisenhower Expressway, and it was referred to as Illinois Route 53, which continued north to Schaumburg. Construction on Illinois 53 had finished in 1970.[8]

Until 1978, the Eisenhower Expressway was marked as a part of Interstate 90. In 1978, the Interstate 90 designation was moved onto the John F. Kennedy Expressway and the Northwest Tollway, replacing Illinois Route 194. The Eisenhower Expressway was then renumbered as Interstate 290.

Because the segment from Interstate 294 to Illinois 53 was built last, that portion of the highway is referred to as the Eisenhower Extension. The Eisenhower Expressway, extension included, is 23 miles (37 km) long. If the Illinois 53 portion of Interstate 290 is added to that, the highway is actually 30 miles (48 km) long.

In 2003-2004, the first 5 miles (8.0 km) of Interstate 290 out of Schaumburg were rebuilt, replacing pavement that had well-exceeded its estimated 20 year lifetime. (The original pavement was built in stages from 1963 through 1970 as part of Illinois 53.)[9] A fifth auxiliary lane was added between the entrance and exit ramps of exits 1, 4 and 5. The most important safety upgrade was the demolition of the raised grassy median between the westbound and eastbound lanes, and its replacement with a permanent concrete median and wide shoulders.

Inbound I-290 at the "Hillside Strangler"
Diagram of the "Hillside Strangler"

  • Hillside Strangler — Named after the Chicago suburb of Hillside, it refers to a major merge with Interstate 88, and almost always is used when referring to inbound (eastbound) traffic. It is at this point that Interstate 88 terminates eastbound. It was called the Strangler because before its reconstruction in the early 2000s, seven through lanes were forced to merge to three, creating large backups. Urban legend suggests that the former Columbia College student Robert Spryszak was the first known to use the expression relating to the traffic pattern in the late 1970s during the "Hillside Strangler" murders media craze. Reconstruction widened part of this area to nine lanes (five inbound; three through; two local; and four through lanes outbound). This allowed direct exits to Mannheim Road (U.S. Routes 12/20/45) from Interstate 88, the ramp also serving for an Interstate 88 truck access to eastbound Interstate 290; created an inbound collector-distributor ramp for Mannheim Road; and added a timed gate that closed a ramp from Roosevelt Road (Illinois Route 38) to inbound Interstate 290 during the afternoon rush hours. These improvements helped congestion at the site, but they also pushed pre-existing congestion further east to the six-lane portion of the highway. The Hillside Strangler is located at about mile marker 18.
  • The Avenues — The portion of the highway between Mannheim Road at mile marker 17 and First Avenue in Maywood, a stretch of 3 miles (4.8 km). Named because all of the crossroads between these two exits are named numerically, in ascending order traveling outbound (westbound). 1st Avenue (Illinois Route 171) is exit 20. There are exits to 9th Avenue, 17th Avenue, and 25th Avenue to the west. These exits are spaced about 3/4ths of a mile (1200 m) apart. This stretch is notorious for being very congested.[2]
  • The Eisenhower Extension or 290 Extension — The 8 miles (13 km) of road between current-day mile marker seven (Interstate 355 south to US 20/Lake Street) and North Avenue (Illinois Route 64), mile marker 15. This section was built in the late 1970s.
  • The Circle Interchange — The eastern terminus of Interstate 290 where it meets Interstates 90 and 94, which overlap through Chicago. North of this interchange Interstates 90 and 94 are called the Kennedy Expressway, while south of it Interstates 90 and 94 are called the Dan Ryan Expressway. The interchange itself consists of eight heavily used, very tight ramps that wind around each other, giving the interchange a distinct circle shape when looked at from above. This design, adequate when first built in the 1950s, forces drivers to slow down to speeds of about 20 mph (32 km/h) due to its tightly wound curves. Not only does this lead to the worst congestion in the Chicago area,[2] a 2010 study of freight congestion (truck speed and travel time) by the Department of Transportation ranked this section of the I-290 as having the worst congestion in the United States; the average truck speed just 29 mph (47 km/h).[10] However, the redesign of the interchange has been determined to be prohibitively expensive because of the relatively small, four city-block area that the interchange is built upon.

Post Office[edit]

Drivers coming out from under the Post Office

Just east of the I-290 - I-90/94 Junction in downtown Chicago, the Old Chicago Main Post Office is a building that stretches over Congress Parkway. If one drives eastbound on I-290 and continues past I-90/94, the highway ends and becomes Congress Parkway. The Post Office was a landmark that was sometimes used in referring to the end of I-290 in downtown Chicago. For example, a traffic reporter might say "... forty minutes from Mannheim to the Post Office...".

This large building was used by the United States Postal Service until 1996. The building itself was built from 1921 to 1933 in the Art-Deco style, and it is 2.5 million square feet (230,000 m²) in size. The building, built several decades before the expressway that passes through it, was originally designed to accommodate a roadway - requiring only minimal work to remove walls in the base for the freeway to pass through. In spite of its unused state, the building is still known to visitors and commuters alike as the unofficial gateway into the Chicago Loop area.[11] In late August 2009, The United States Postal Service announced an auction was to be held to sell the facility to the highest bidder. The winning bid ($40 million) was from an English real estate developer, Bill Davies [1].

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[12] km Exit Destinations Notes
Cook Rolling Meadows IL 53 north – North Suburbs Continuation beyond I-90; north end of IL 53 overlap
0.00 0.00 I-90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) – Rockford, Chicago
Schaumburg 0.60 0.97 1A To IL 58 (Golf Road) / Woodfield Road Northbound exits combined into exit 1
1.44 2.32 1B IL 72 (Higgins Road)
Elk Grove Village 3.93 6.32 4 IL 53 south (Biesterfield Road) East end of IL 53 overlap
DuPage Itasca 5.03 8.10 5 IL 390 west (Thorndale Avenue)
6.46 10.40 7 I-355 south (Veterans Memorial Tollway) to US 20 (Lake Street) – Joliet
Addison 10.69 17.20 10 IL 83 (Kingery Highway) Signed as exits 10A (south) and 10B (north)
Elmhurst 12.34 19.86 12 US 20 west (Lake Street) / York Road West end of US 20 overlap
13.41 21.58 13 US 20 (Lake Street) / IL 64 (North Avenue) East end of US 20 overlap; no access to IL 64 west from I-290&nsbp;east
Berkeley 14.76 23.75 14 St. Charles Road Signed as exits 14A (west) and 14B (east)
Hillside 15.33 24.67 15B I-294 north (Tri-State Tollway) – Milwaukee Eastbound exit is via exit 13A
Cook 15.97 25.70 15A I-88 west / IL 110 west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) / I-294 south (Tri-State Tollway) – Aurora, Indiana West end of IL 110 overlap
16.44 26.46 16 Wolf Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
17.52 28.20 17 US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (Mannheim Road) Signed as exits 17A (east/south) and 17B (west/north) eastbound
Maywood 18.54 29.84 18 25th Avenue Signed as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
19.05 30.66 19A 17th Avenue
19.56 31.48 19B 9th Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
20.06 32.28 20 IL 171 (1st Avenue)
Forest Park 21.02 33.83 21A Des Plaines Avenue Westbound entrance and eastbound exit only
Oak Park 21.58 34.73 21B IL 43 (Harlem Avenue)
23.09 37.16 23A Austin Boulevard
Chicago 23.63 38.03 23B Central Avenue
24.09 38.77 24A Laramie Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
24.61 39.61 24B IL 50 (Cicero Avenue) – Midway Airport Eastbound exit and westbound entrance only
25.14 40.46 25 Kostner Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
25.70 41.36 26A Independence Boulevard
26.41 42.50 26B Homan Avenue Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
26.90 43.29 27A Sacramento Avenue Eastbound exit and westbound entrance only
27.15 43.69 27B Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only
27.67 44.53 27C Western Avenue, Oakley Boulevard
28.17 45.34 28A Damen Avenue To United Center
28.54 45.93 28B Paulina Street, Ashland Boulevard
29.43 47.36 29A Racine Avenue Eastbound exit and westbound entrance only
29.53 47.52 29B Morgan Street Westbound exit only
29.84 48.02 I-90 / I-94 (Kennedy Expressway (north), Dan Ryan Expressway (south)) / IL 110 ends – Indiana, Wisconsin Circle Interchange; east end of IL 110 overlap
Congress Parkway – Chicago Loop Continuation beyond I-90/I-94
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Route Log- Auxiliary Routes of the Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways - Table 2
  2. ^ a b c Federal Highway Administration (2002). "Traffic Congestion and Reliability: Linking Solutions to Problems". Retrieved 2007-06-14. 
  3. ^ Interstate 290 at Interstate-Guide.com
  4. ^ Building the Congress Expressway, http://www.cookexpressways.com/chapter11.html.
  5. ^ Plummer, Andy (2006). "The Race To Catch Up In Building An Expressway System". Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  6. ^ Plummer, Andy (2006). "The First New Chicago Expressway". Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  7. ^ Piotrowicz, Gary and Robinson, James (1995). "Ramp metering status in North America: 1995 Update". Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  8. ^ Carlson, Rich (2005-04-15). "Illinois Highways Page: Routes 203 and up". Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  9. ^ Carlson, Rich (2006-03-15). "Illinois State Highways Page: Routes 41 thru 60". Retrieved 2006-03-26. 
  10. ^ "Table 3-9. Top 25 Freight Highway Locations by Freight Congestion Index Rating: 2010". Department of Transportation. 2011. 
  11. ^ Gallun, Alby (2005-07-01). "$300M revival plan for Post Office". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2006-01-12. 
  12. ^ Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Retrieved 2007-11-08. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing