Dan Ryan Expressway

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Dan Ryan Expressway

South Route Expressway
Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Length11.47 mi[1] (18.46 km)
Major junctions
North end
I-90 / I-94 / I-290 / IL 110 (CKC) in Chicago
Major intersections
South end I-57 / I-94 in Chicago
CountryUnited States
Highway system
The Dan Ryan Expressway West Leg (now more commonly referred to as I-57) at Genoa Road in 1970

The Dan Ryan Expressway is an expressway in Chicago that runs from the Circle Interchange with Interstate 290 (I-290) near Downtown Chicago through the South Side of the city. It is designated as both I-90 and I-94 south to 66th Street, a distance of 7.44 miles (11.97 km). South of 66th Street, the freeway meets the Chicago Skyway, which travels southeast; the I-90 designation transfers over to the Skyway, while the Dan Ryan Expressway retains the I-94 designation and continues south for 4.03 miles (6.49 km), ending at an interchange with I-57. This is a total distance of 11.47 miles (18.5 km).[1] The freeway was named for Dan Ryan Jr., a former president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Route description[edit]

On an average day, up to 307,100 vehicles use a portion of the Dan Ryan (2005 data).[1] The Dan Ryan, and its North Side counterpart the Kennedy Expressway, are the busiest roads in the entire state of Illinois. Utilizing an express-local system, the Dan Ryan has 14 lanes of traffic; seven in each direction, with four of those as express lanes and the other three providing access for exit and on-ramps. Because of its width, the Dan Ryan is very popular with commuters who live south of the Loop, making the road prone to traffic jams during weekday rush hour.

The posted directions on the Dan Ryan are different from the actual compass direction of the expressway, which may cause confusion to many travelers. The Dan Ryan for its entire 12-mile (19 km) length runs north–south. However, the Dan Ryan is a part of the larger Interstates 90 and 94, which both run east–west through the United States. Therefore, one who is traveling "west" on I-90/94 is actually driving north on the Dan Ryan as it passes through Chicago; I-90 continues northwest from the Kennedy split, while I-94 runs north–south until the Marquette Interchange in Milwaukee. Similarly, "east" on 90 and 94 on the entire system is really south through Chicago; the interstates will continue on an easterly path outside of the city. Chicagoans also typically refer to the direction of travel as either "inbound" or "outbound" from the downtown area.

Four miles of continuous high-rise housing projects (Stateway Gardens and the Robert Taylor Homes) formerly ran parallel to the expressway on its eastern side from Cermak Road south to Garfield Boulevard. However, nearly all of these buildings have been demolished as part of the CHA's transformation plan.

The Red Line runs in the median of the Dan Ryan. This section of the Chicago "L" opened on September 28, 1969. Chicago pioneered the location of rapid transit line in expressway medians, a practice that has since been followed in several other cities, such as Toronto, and Pasadena.[2]

The control cities for the Dan Ryan Expressway are Indiana and Chicago Loop.


The first segment of the Dan Ryan, opened on December 12, 1961 and ran between US 12/US 20, 95th Street north to 71st Street in Chicago's Grand Crossing neighborhood. It was named after the recently deceased Dan Ryan, Jr., who was President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners who had worked to accelerate construction of Chicago-area expressways. A year later on December 15, 1962, the 8-mile (13 km) stretch of the Dan Ryan between 71st Street and I-90/Eisenhower Expressway (now signed as I-290) opened to the public as well as a 0.2-mile (0.32 km) stretch that connected it to the Bishop Ford Freeway (then known as the Calumet Expressway). During the planning stages it was also known as the South Route Expressway.[3]

Northbound Dan Ryan Expressway near 51st Street
Expressway at night
View looking north towards the Chicago Loop from the Dan Ryan Expressway. 'L' tracks can be seen in the median.
Heavy traffic in 1973

In 1988–1989, the northern three miles (4.8 km) of the Dan Ryan, known as the Elevated Bridge, were completely reconstructed.[4]

In 2006 and 2007, the Illinois Department of Transportation reconstructed the entire length of the Dan Ryan Expressway, including the addition of a travel lane from 47th Street to 95th Street. The project was the largest expressway reconstruction plan in Chicago history. The total cost of the project was $975 million, nearly twice the $550 million original estimate for the project.[5][6]

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Chicago, Cook County.


I-90 west / I-94 west (Kennedy Expressway) – Wisconsin
Continuation beyond I-290

I-290 west / IL 110 (CKC) west (Eisenhower Expressway) – West Suburbs
No exit number westbound
51.883.451IIda B. Wells Drive (500 South) – Chicago LoopSigned as 51H eastbound
52.183.852ATaylor Street (1000 South), Roosevelt Road (1200 South)Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
52.384.252BRoosevelt Road (1200 South), Taylor Street (1000 South)Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
52.985.152C18th StreetEastbound exit and westbound entrance
53.085.353ACanalport Avenue, Cermak Road (2200 South)Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
53.385.853 I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) – St. Louis, Lake Shore DriveSigned as exits 53B (south) and 53C (north) westbound
Western end of express lanes
53.886.653CCermak Road (2200 South)Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
54.788.05431st Street (3100 South)
55.288.855A35th StreetGuaranteed Rate Field, Illinois Institute of Technology
55.789.655BPershing Road (3900 South)
56.290.456A43rd Street
56.791.256B47th Street (4700 South)
57.792.957Garfield Boulevard (5500 South)
58.293.758A59th StreetWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
58.794.558B63rd Street (6300 South)Eastbound exit and westbound entrance

I-90 Toll east / Chicago Skyway east to Indiana Toll Road
Eastern end of I-90 concurrency; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
59.395.459BMarquette Road, 67th Street (6700 South)Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
Eastern end of express lanes
59.896.259C71st Street (7100 South)
60.397.060A75th StreetEastbound exit and westbound entrance
60.497.260B76th StreetWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
60.897.860C79th Street (7900 South)
61.398.761A83rd StreetEastbound exit and westbound entrance
61.899.561B87th Street (8700 South)
62.8101.162 US 12 / US 20 (95th Street)Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
I-57 south – Memphis
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance

I-94 east (Bishop Ford Freeway) – Indiana
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b c Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  2. ^ Thomas Buck (September 28, 1969). "Ryan rail service starts today". Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ "Daniel Ryan (obituary)". Cook County Highways. April 1961. p. 3.
  4. ^ Hilkevitch, John (March 26, 2006). "Buckle up, it looks like a long ride". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 26, 2006.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Haggerty, Ryan (October 26, 2007). "All lanes will be open on the Dan Ryan". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Tridgell, Guy (October 18, 2007). "Falling gas prices won't stay". Daily Southtown. Retrieved October 25, 2007.[dead link]

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata