Photo of a traffic jam on Chicago’s Congress Expressway in 1959, during evening rush hour. Credit: Chicago Transit Authority.
In 1940, the City Council of Chicago approved the west route of the Superhighway System of Chicago, which opened for operation in 1955. This highway system, formerly named Congress Expressway, was the first in the United States to incorporate a rapid transit line and an expressway within the same corridor. This would result in the multi-modal thoroughfare that connects Chicago and the northwest and western suburbs of today.
The section of the Eisenhower Expressway, Mannheim Rd. (US 12/20/45) to Cicero Ave. (IL Route 50), is one of the oldest segments of the region’s highway infrastructure. Serving as the western gateway to the city of Chicago and the Chicago Central Area, I-290 is a major link in the transportation network serving northeast Illinois. This section of I-290 is the primary corridor connecting commuters between the western suburbs and the City of Chicago Loop, as well as connecting commuters from south Cook County to the high employment centers found in the I-88 Technology Corridor and the O’hare International Airport commerce centers.
The study area traverses through eight communities: Chicago, Bellwood, Broadview, Forest Park, Hillside, Maywood, Oak Park, and Westchester and the corridor is experiencing changing population, employment and travel patterns.
Key community and agency issues and interests will be identified through early project outreach efforts with project stakeholders, community officials, various community groups and municipalities in the area. Community leaders and long-time residents may be familiar with the past and current transportation initiatives in the area, which include the following: