Kennedy Expressway ride no big deal on Tuesday?  Maybe not so lucky for the rest of the week

Amancay Kugler drove down the Kennedy Expressway from the Avondale neighborhood Tuesday morning and saw his commute downtown take almost twice as long as usual.

“This morning was slow and yesterday morning slow,” said Kugler, 30, who drops her two children at daycare downtown.

He didn't pay attention to the news that there would likely be extra congestion in the Kennedy Tuesday driveway.

“I have two children. I'm babysitting an only child this week. So no,” he said.

It's likely to get worse for commuters like Kugler and many of the 275,000 drivers who use the Kennedy every day. Illinois Department of Transportation crews erected barricades late Monday where the Edens Expressway merged with Kennedy all the way south onto Irving Park Road, blocking the two left lanes.

The line closure along Kennedy is expected to be extended by a total of 7 119/12/20172 miles over the next few days to Ohio Street as a three year construction project got underway.

“All this week while we were setting everything up, every morning when you drive you will see something different,” said Maria Castaneda, a spokesperson for IDOT.

So if you're driving a Kennedy on a Tuesday morning, say from Irving Park Ave, you may not notice the lane closure – or any major slowdown. A Chicago Sun-Times reporter hopped on Kennedy in Irving Park at 7:55 a.m., about 20 minutes to reach the Ohio Street exit, a slightly shorter-than-usual travel time.

Castaneda said the construction-related slowdown was “pretty much what we expected.”

“Obviously it's denser, denser in the northern area (Irving Park),” he said.

But North Side commuters are unlikely to be so lucky Wednesday when line closures are expected to extend to Fullerton, Castaneda said.

The entire project is expected to be completed by 2025. Bridges along the expressway will be demolished and replaced over the course of the project, taking about five weeks per bridge, according to IDOT.

The larger highway leading to the expressway may be reserved as a result of construction as well, but exits and ramps are not expected to be closed.

To deal with expected congestion, IDOT officials recommend public transit or getting to work earlier — to avoid the worst of rush hour.

A spokesman for the Chicago Transit Authority said the agency had no data available on Tuesday's increase in passenger numbers that might be related to the construction, but he said the agency was monitoring any increase.

Metra saw “significant improvement on some trains” early Tuesday, said Mike Gillis, a spokesman for the agency. Starting April 3, Metra plans to add 12 trains on weekdays to the UP Northwest Line.

“With a major multi-year rehabilitation project scheduled to begin on the Kennedy Expressway, this new timetable allows Metra to provide more commuting with a viable and far less stressful alternative to driving,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski in a statement. .