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Crosstown Expressway (Chicago)

For other uses of "Crosstown Expressway", see Crosstown Expressway (disambiguation).
This article is about the western proposed alignment of Interstate 494 in Chicago. For the eastern alignment, see Lake Shore Drive#History.


Interstate 494
Crosstown Expressway
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Route information
Maintained by IDOT
Major junctions
South end: Near the intersection of 87th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway
North end: Near the Edens/Kennedy junction
Counties: Cook
Highway system

The Crosstown Expressway (Interstate 494, as it was dubbed), was a proposed highway route in Chicago, Illinois in the 1960s through the 1970s.

Route description

The highway was to begin from a connection with the Kennedy Expressway and Edens Expressway (Interstates 90 & 94) near Montrose Avenue on the city's Northwest Side. It was to follow an alignment parallel, and adjacent to the Belt Railway of Chicago, approximately one-half mile east of Cicero Avenue and extend southerly over railroad right-of-way through the West Side of Chicago, and across the Sanitary and Ship Canal to a connection with the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55).

South of this confluence, the route would continue south in a reverse direction, split-arrangement with the northbound highway lanes depressed along Cicero Avenue and the southbound lanes depressed along the Belt Railway of Chicago tracks. Continuing south past the proposed traffic interchange at Chicago Midway International Airport, the expressway alignment was to turn southeasterly at 67th Street and continue over Belt Railway right-of-way to Lawndale Avenue then turn easterly towards the Dan Ryan Expressway along Norfolk Southern Railway right-of-way (now Metra-South West Service) and 75th Street to an interchange with the Dan Ryan Expressway (Interstate 94) north of 91st Street.

Extra lanes were planned to extend north from the proposed Dan Ryan/Crosstown interchange to connect with the Chicago Skyway (Interstate 90) near 66th and State Streets.

The Crosstown Expressway was designed as no mere highway plan. It was conceived as a massive community improvement project—a standard by which many new highway projects in the world would be based. It was heralded by former Mayor of Chicago Richard J. Daley as the "Roadway of the Future".


Construction was planned in the early 1970s, but no work was ever started. Because of the runaway inflation rates in those days, the price tag on the Crosstown Expressway was placed around $1.2 billion.

In January, 1979, the Crosstown Expressway project was cancelled by then-Mayor of Chicago Jane M. Byrne and Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, and the money which was to be used for its construction was placed into the Interstate Highway Transfer Fund. This money was eventually used for the construction of the city's subway/elevated Blue Line rail extension to O'Hare International Airport and the construction of the Orange Line to Midway Airport.

In 2001, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced plans for a Mid-City Transitway, using the exact alignment proposed in the 1960s plan. That plan, along with a proposed CTA rapid transit line in the same corridor, were placed in the Chicago Area Transportation Study's Destination 2020: Regional Transportation Plan and still awaits study and approval.

On February 21, 2007, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan proposed a piece of legislation that would make the Crosstown Expressway a part of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (abbreviated ISTHA). However, the proposal was not previously looked at by the office of the mayor, governor, the ISTHA or the Illinois Department of Transportation.[1]

See also


  1. Hilkevitch, John and Washburn, Gary (2007-02-21). "Madigan revives crosstown highway talk". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 

External links