Interstate 190 represents the western extent of the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago. The spur directly links Interstate 90 with O'Hare International Airport (ORD). Although it is primarily designed to connect to the O'Hare passenger terminals, the freeway also provides the connections from I-90 west to I-294 (Tri-State Tollway) south and from the tollway north to the inbound Kennedy Expressway along I-90 east. Passenger rail rapid transit accompanies all of I-190, serving commuters between Downtown and the airport.
The $23.89 million East River Road / Cumberland Flyover Project improves connections at the east end of Interstate 190, where the Kennedy Expressway combines with I-90 leading into Chicago. Design work was approved for the project on March 4, 2011. The East River Road contract was let on September 18, 2015. Construction completed by late 2016 rebuilt the East River Road overpass to accommodate expansion of I-90 and the new distributor roadway along eastbound.
The Cumberland Flyover contract was let on September 16, 2016. Work on the new 845 foot long overpass spanning the CTA Blue Line and eastbound roadway for I-190 runs through November 2018. The flyover forms a distributor roadway separating traffic bound for IL 171 (Cumberland Avenue) from the merge of Interstates 90/190. Associated construction widens Interstate 190 east from the Des Plaines River to the merge with I-90.
Ppened to traffic on November 5, 1960, the Kennedy Expressway originates at the Jane Byrne (Circle) Interchange with the Dan Ryan Expressway and Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290). Connecting Downtown Chicago with O'Hare International Airport (ORD), the 16-mile expressway was constructed at a cost of $237 million.1,2 Prior to 1978, the Kennedy Expressway was numbered as just I-94 from the Circle Interchange northwest to the Edens Expressway, as Illinois 194 from the Edens Expressway to the Northwest Tollway, and as Illinois 594 along the O'Hare Airport spur. I-90 at the time was routed along the Eisenhower Expressway. The current numbering system of the Kennedy Expressway as I-90 and I-190 has remained unchanged since 1978.
Originally named the Northwest Expressway, the freeway was renamed the John F. Kennedy Expressway on November 29, 1963, one week to the minute after the famous U.S. President was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. New rapid transit rail service went into operation within the Kennedy Expressway median on February 1, 1970, shortly after commuter rail service began on the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94).1,2
The U.S. Route 12/45 Mannheim Road Project underway between spring 2013 and fall 2015 reconfigured the cloverleaf interchange joining Interstate 190 with the north-south arterial. Split into two contracts, work widened 3.2 miles of U.S. 12 & 45 to six overall lanes north of IL 19 (Irving Park Road) to IL 72 (Higgins Road). The $59.6 million project removed both eastbound ramps from I-190 to Mannheim Road. The connection to U.S. 12/45 now uses O'Hare Road east from Bessie Coleman Road to its on-ramps near Balmoral Avenue.
Western Terminus - O'Hare International Airport (ORD) - Chicago, Illinois
Perspective from Interstate 190 (Kennedy Expressway) west
Interstate 190 curves southwest from the Tri-State Tollway through to the three-quarter cloverleaf interchange (Exit 2A) with U.S. 12-45 (Mannheim Road). Photo taken 06/20/15.
Lowering below a CN Railroad, westbound drivers on I-190 reach the off-ramp (Exit 2A) for U.S. 12 west & 45 (Mannheim Road) north. Speed limits reduce to 45 miles per hour here. Photos taken 09/03/05.
U.S. 12 & 45 (Mannheim Road) combine along the east side of O'Hare International Airport (ORD), connecting I-190 with various offsite parking areas and rental car facilities. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (11/28/02).
Maintenance of the Kennedy Expressway shifts from the Illinois Department of Transportation to the city of Chicago west from the exchange with Mannheim Road. All remaining exits along westbound serve the airport. Photo taken 06/20/15.
A two-lane ramp follows for Bessie Coleman Drive, which serves the International Terminal (#5), select rental car pickup/dropoff, and economy parking. The airport loop separates ahead into roadways for the upper deck / departures and lower deck / arrivals. Photo taken 06/20/15.
Perspective from Interstate 190 (Kennedy Expressway) east
The airport access road continues past the passenger terminals and turns east to leave O'Hare International Airport via I-190 (Kennedy Expressway). PPhoto taken 06/20/15.
The Kennedy Expressway passes below a pair of airport runway tunnels a quarter mile ahead of the unnumbered exit for Bessie Coleman Drive and O'Hare Way east. Bessie Coleman Drive serves Airport Return/Rental Car Pickup areas while O'Hare Way winds east to connect with U.S. 12 & 45 (Mannheim Road) Photo taken 09/03/05.
Overheads placed by the city of Chicago direct motorists to the Bessie Coleman Drive off-ramp and the continuation of the Kennedy Expressway east to Interstates 190, 294 and 90. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Interstate 190 begins at the exchange with U.S. 12 & 45 (Mannheim Road). Exits 2B/A for U.S. 12 & 45 (Manheim Road) permanently closed as part of the U.S. Route 12/45 Mannheim Road Project in 2014. The succeeding exit links with the Tri-State Tollway south. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Eastbound at the removed loop ramp (Exit 2A) for U.S. 12 west & 45 (Mannheim Road) north. Exits for Interstate 294 north to Milwaukee and south to Lansing depart over the next 0.6 miles. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (11/28/02).
Perspective from Interstate 90 (Kennedy Expressway) west
The first sign of the pending split between Interstates 90 and 190 westbound is located between Exit 81A for Illinois 43 (Harlem Avenue) and Exit 80 for Canfield Road. Photo taken 09/03/05.
The Kennedy Expressway meets IL 72 (Higgens Road) and IL 171 (Cumberland Avenue) at Exit 78 just ahead of I-190. IL 171 stems south from parallel IL 72 to Norridge and River Grove. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Interstate 90 shifts onto the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway at Exit 78, as the Kennedy Expressway extends west into O'Hare International Airport (ORD) as Interstate 190. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Interstate 294 (Tri-State Tollway) meets both I-90 and I-190 just west of their separation at partial interchanges. I-190 connects with the toll road south to while the I-90 mainline meets I-294 north directly. Photo taken 09/03/05.
East River Road spans Interstate 90 west just ahead of the wye interchange (Exit 78) with I-190. The Jane Addams Memorial Tollway begins and leads northwest from here to Elgin, Rockford and South Beloit. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Two lanes elevate across the Northwest Tollway and Des Plaines River through to a loop ramp for River Road and the community of Rosemont, and a left exit for Interstate 294 (Tri-State Tollway) south to Elmhurst, Berkeley and Oak Brook. Photo taken 09/03/05.
Perspective from Interstate 190 (Kennedy Expressway) east
Interstate 190 continues east from the ramps with the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) through a three-quarter cloverleaf interchange (Exits 1B/A) with River Road. The Kennedy Expressway merges with I-90 in 0.9 miles. Photo taken 06/13/15.
Exit 1A loops onto River Road north to IL 82 (Higgins Road). An advance sign references the forthcoming off-ramp from Interstate 90 east to IL 171 (Cumberland Avenue). Photo taken 06/13/15.
An end shield accompanies milepost 0.33 at the wye interchange joining the Kennedy Expressway with the south end of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. Construction for the Cumberland Flyover in 2017 displaced this assembly. Photo taken 06/13/15.
Interstate 190 defaults onto I_90 east, a half mile ahead of the parclo interchange (Exit 79) with IL 171 (Cumberland Road) at its northern terminus with IL 72 (Higgens Road). Photo taken 06/13/15.
Chicago Timeline: 1960 Northwest Expressway Completed; November 29, 1963 Renamed The John F. Kennedy Expressway, http://www.chipublib.org/004chicago/timeline/kennedyx.html Chicago Public Library, updated August 1997.