The designation of Interstate 494 was proposed twice in Chicago, first for Lake Shore Drive and later for the Crosstown Expressway. Neither of the two I-494 routes were completed, although the “Ohio Street Extension” of the Kennedy Expressway (I-90/94) in Chicago was signed as Interstate 494 for a short time in the 1960s as part of the connection from Lake Shore Drive to I-94.1
The Illinois Division of Highways proposed relocating Interstate 494 from Lake Shore Drive to the Crosstown Expressway in 1963. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the revision of Interstate Route 494 on October 15, 1964:
From a junction with FAI 94 in southeast Chicago northwesterly to a junction with FAI 55 and thence northerly to a junction with FAI 94 in the north part of Chicago.
The state of Illinois submitted an application for the relocation of Interstate 494 to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on May 4, 1966. It cited a need for a true bypass route away from the Loop to alleviate congestion on the existing radial expressway system. Further adding that approximately 80 to 85 percent of traffic passed through the Chicago Business District and not into during a typical work day.
The Crosstown Study Area, located at a distance approximately eight miles from the Loop, indicated that 72% had a high degree of congestion ranging from 10 to 200% over the maximum capacity. The Crosstown Expressway would also serve one of the largest industrial areas in the city of Chicago. Lastly, an analysis of user benefits indicated that constructing the new bypass route would provide a higher return of investment than the reconstruction of Lake Shore Drive.
AASHO approved the relocation on July 5, 1966.