City Cast

What’s Up With Summertime Chicago Traffic?

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on June 5   |   Updated on July 7
A bird's eye view of Grant Park

Grant Park will host NASCAR’s street race. (Antonio Perez / Tribune / Getty)

With all the roadwork, could traffic in Chicago get any worse? It depends on where you’re going and how you’re getting there.

A map of the Grant Park NASCAR race course

Downtown race course. (Courtesy of NASCAR)

NASCAR road closures are on the horizon

Prep for the July 1–2 event around Grant Park has begun: Parking restrictions along Columbus Drive between Jackson and Balbo drives went into effect Friday.

Some road closures will start this weekend, but the big ones will be closer to race days as Jackson, Columbus, and Congress Plaza drives, along with Roosevelt Road, DuSable Lake Shore Drive, and Michigan Avenue see closures throughout June.

We’ll slowly regain access as the track is deconstructed by July 15.

Lots of traffic on highway

Vehicles on the Montrose Avenue overpass at the I-90 Kennedy Expressway and the I-94 Edens Split in 2017. (Patrick Gorski / NurPhoto / Getty)

Why is existing traffic a nightmare?

DuSable Lake Shore Drive has been getting repaved from LaSalle Drive to Lawrence Avenue, closing lanes and exit ramps. Good news for North Siders: It’s supposed to end mid-June. South Siders are stuck dealing with Obama Center Presidential Center traffic.

Kennedy Expressway is only a couple months into the yearslong $150 million project to fix bridges, patch pavement, and more from the Edens junction to the Ohio Street exit.

Stevenson Expressway projects are expected to be wrapped up by the end of the year. But proposals to widen lanes has some nearby residents worried about continued air pollution.

Wishing commuters everywhere good luck and godspeed 🫡

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