Jane Byrne Interchange

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Circle Interchange
Jane Byrne Interchange
Circle Interchange Chicago.jpg
Aerial photo of the Jane Byrne Interchange, looking southwest toward the UIC campus
Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates 41°52′32″N 87°38′44″W / 41.875514°N 87.645458°W / 41.875514; -87.645458Coordinates: 41°52′32″N 87°38′44″W / 41.875514°N 87.645458°W / 41.875514; -87.645458
Roads at


IL 110 (CKC)
Opened 1960s
Maintained by IDOT

The Circle Interchange (officially the Jane Byrne Interchange) is a major freeway interchange near downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the junction between the Dan Ryan, Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways (Interstate 90/Interstate 94 [I-90/I-94] and I-290), and Congress Parkway. In a dedication ceremony held on August 29, 2014, this interchange was renamed in honor of former Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne (1979–1983).

This interchange is notorious for its traffic jams. In 2004, it was rated as the country's third-worst traffic bottleneck, with the drivers of the approximately 300,000 vehicles a day using it[1] losing a combined 25 million hours each year.[2] In a 2010 study of freight congestion (truck speed and travel time), 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 29.41 mph (47.33 km/h).[3]


This interchange is logically a turbine interchange, with each of the four mainlines having a single entrance and exit serving both directions of the crossing highway. It does not use the quadruple-decker architecture commonly associated with stack interchanges. Instead, it has a flattened layout, using the long, curving ramps to circumnavigate the crossing of the mainlines. This results in fewer tall bridges and gives the interchange its distinctive "circle" appearance.[citation needed]

Both I-90/I-94 and I-290/Congress Parkway have three lanes in each direction at this interchange. Each of the ramps leading to and from the freeways is one lane wide, except for the ramp from eastbound I-290 to eastbound (southbound) I-90/94; this ramp is two lanes wide.[citation needed]

This interchange centers on Congress Parkway (the east–west surface street that is the continuation of the Eisenhower Expressway beyond its terminus several blocks east of the interchange) and extends roughly from Halsted Street on the west to Jefferson Street on the east.[citation needed]

The tracks of the Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line 'L' train pass directly underneath the center of the interchange, running in an east-west direction, as they transition from surface operation in the median of the Eisenhower Expressway, to a subway to the east of the Interchange. This complicates where support columns could be located in any future construction at this interchange.[citation needed]


Originally known as the Congress Interchange and changed to Circle Interchange in 1964, it was built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, at the same time as the construction of the Kennedy Expressway.[citation needed]

The University of Illinois at Chicago is to the southwest of the interchange. When the campus opened in 1965, it was called the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, making it the only university in the world known to be named after a freeway interchange.[4][5][6]

Due to its congestion, the May 2008 issue of Popular Mechanics listed this interchange among their list of the 10 Pieces of U.S. Infrastructure We Must Fix Now.[1]

In August 2012, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) began the planning and design phases for the potential rehabilitation of this interchange.[7] It has established a project web site, which is being used to schedule public meetings.[7][8]

The April 3, 2013 Chicago Tribune featured a front-page article on the estimated $420 million project, which is slated to take four years. It began in late 2013, and when complete will see the replacement of the northbound I-90/I-94 to westbound I-290 ramp with a flyover ramp.

In a dedication ceremony held on August 29, 2014, this interchange, formerly called the Circle Interchange, was renamed the Jane Byrne Interchange in honor of former Chicago Mayor Jane M. Byrne (1979–1983).[9] The market's radio and television traffic reporting services immediately instituted the interchange's new name, though many went with a dual reference of the "Jane Byrne–Circle Interchange" during a transition period until the services updated their maps and road signage was change to reflect the new name, to avert confusion.

On December 4, 2016, the northwest flyover of the Jane Byrne Interchange was opened, and the old configuration of the northbound Dan Ryan to westbound Eisenhower Expressway was closed. At the same time, the northwest flyover was opened to traffic.[10]


The Jane Byrne Interchange is still under construction and will be completed in around 2019 as few ramps are closed during construction.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sofge, Erik. "10 Pieces of U.S. Infrastructure We Must Fix Now—Brooklyn Bridge, Chicago, New Orleans—Rebuilding America". Popular Mechanics. 
  2. ^ "Chapter 3". Traffic Congestion and Reliability: Trends and Advanced Strategies for Congestion Mitigation. Federal Highway Administration. 
  3. ^ "Table 3-9. Top 25 Freight Highway Locations by Freight Congestion Index Rating: 2010". Federal Highway Administration. 2011. 
  4. ^ Young, David M. (2005). "Spaghetti Bowl". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved January 26, 2008. 
  5. ^ UIC Historian (2006). "Chicago Circle Campus Construction". Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Retrieved February 1, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Interchanging Identities". UIC School of Architecture. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "Circle Interchange". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Public Meetings / Hearings". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Circle Interchange to Be Renamed for Jane Byrne Today". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Circle Interchange–Completed Projects". www.circleinterchange.org. 
  11. ^ "Circle Interchange–About the Project: History & Overview". www.circleinterchange.org. 

External links[edit]