Like any major city, we have quite a lot of road congestion — especially during the morning and
evening rush hour periods. Not only does this impact our downtown roadways, but also our
major expressways and highways outside of the city proper. As an out-of-towner, it will likely
feel impossible to decipher traffic reports, so here is a cheat-sheet of the major roadways you
need to know:
Lake Shore Drive (U.S. Highway 41): Also known as Outer Drive, this freeway mixes
expressways and surface streets running from the south side of the city to the very far north. If
you’re travelling within the city, this is likely the route you will take.
Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55): Also known as I-55, this interstate highway connects
the Tri-State Tollway all the way to Lake Shore Drive. It enters the state from Missouri, and runs
through Springfield, Bloomington and Joliet.
Kennedy Expressway (John F. Kennedy Expressway): Connecting O’Hare Airport to
downtown, the Kennedy Expressway is known locally for its traffic congestion. In other words, if
you’re catching a flight out of O’Hare, be sure to give yourself extra time.
Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290): Also called “The Ike,” this auxiliary highway runs
westwards from the Chicago Loop.