The Kennedy Expressway is a major thoroughfare from the Chicago Loop to the O’Hare International Airport. Traffic is a common issue in any large city and traffic jams occur very frequently on the Kennedy Expressway. People who have to drive the route on a regular basis are accustomed to dealing with it and there are some excellent ways to avoid traffic jams on the Kennedy Expressway.
5. Avoid the rush hour times. Morning traffic is heaviest between 6 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and the evening traffic begins to pick up around 3 p.m. and runs until roughly 7 p.m. Traffic is generally heavier inbound (heading towards the Loop) in the mornings and outbound (heading towards O’Hare) in the evenings, though it’s usually heavy both ways. If you don’t need to drive down the Kennedy Expressway during this time, it’s best to avoid it. If you are passing through Chicago, plan your trip around rush hour to try to avoid a traffic jam.
4. Take an alternative route. Depending on where you’re coming from or where you’re going, there may be a faster route if traffic is heavy. If you need to go from the Loop to O’Hare, you could consider taking I-290 to Highway 12/Mannheim Rd. Both Foster Ave. and Milwaukee Ave. follow a major portion of the Kennedy Expressway. If you don’t know the alternative routes, map out a route ahead of time or use a GPS.
3. Get an I-Pass. Not only does the I-Pass save you money by cutting the toll fee in half, it also saves you time. Instead of having to stop at the individual tolls, you get to go through the I-Pass lane which doesn’t require you to stop or fumble with change. This can make a huge difference during traffic, especially in the inbound lane near O’Hare, where traffic frequently comes to a halt
2. Check the traffic before you leave. If you live near Chicago, check the news or a traffic site to see how things are flowing. Unexpected things like traffic accidents can cause the Kennedy Expressway to back up. Construction and road repairs can also cause traffic delays. Sporting events can also wreak havoc on traffic. If you see that there is bad traffic before you leave, you can try an alternative route, or choose a different time to travel.
1. Choose public transportation. There are many Park and Ride programs set into place around the outskirts of Chicago, with some lots located right off the Kennedy Expressway. The Blue Line of the Chicago “L” (Chicago’s elevated subway) runs from O’Hare Airport to the Loop. There are also several Metra lines that run north of the city.