Press Release - Thursday, September 14, 2023
Chicago's Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction competing for America's top transportation project
Fourth time in six years IDOT in the mix for project of the year
CHICAGO - The reconstruction and modernization of the Jane Byrne Interchange is a finalist for the grand prize in the America's Transportation Awards, the top honor for state departments of transportation. The project was recognized for delivering one of the biggest projects in state history while improving safety, mobility and quality of life across the region and at the neighborhood level.
"We are honored to receive this recognition for our efforts on behalf of the people of Illinois and excited to showcase the important role our state plays as the transportation hub of North America," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "These are more than just projects to us, but opportunities to make our communities safer, better places to live, work and play."
The Byrne now competes for the national Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award. Both come with $10,000 in prize money for a charity or not-for-profit chosen by the winning states. An independent panel of transportation industry experts will select the Grand Prize winner, while the general public will decide the People's Choice Award through an online vote.
The winning projects will be announced Nov. 15 in Indianapolis. Online voting begins today for the People's Choice Award at americastransportationawards.org and continues through Nov. 14. Individuals can cast no more than one vote per day per project.
The Byrne emerged as a Top 12 finalist out of the 81 projects submitted nationwide for the contest, hosted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Revitalization of the aged Byrne turned one of the nation's slowest, most congested highway freight bottlenecks into a multifaceted, multimodal transportation hub for businesses, residences and other local attractions. The more than $800 million project involved rebuilding multiple bridges over the interchange to accommodate wider sidewalks for pedestrians, bike accommodations and a bus-only lane. Additionally, the project transformed Peoria Street into an expansive walkway and rehabilitated the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line station - adding an elevator for customers with disabilities.
"These projects selected for our Top 12 list shine a spotlight on our most innovative and impactful projects in this year's competition," said AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon. "These vital projects deliver a range of benefits for their communities — whether providing emergency services during natural disasters, adding mobility options such as transit and active transportation infrastructure, or working with partners to address larger societal issues like homelessness. These Top 12 projects and initiatives showcase how state DOTs are building more equitable, resilient and multimodal infrastructure for our communities."
The recognition is the fourth time in the last six contests that an IDOT project has been named a finalist, winning in 2018 for the new Lake Shore Drive-Interstate 55 interchange in Chicago and again in 2019 for the joint effort with Missouri to improve mobility and access throughout the Metro East region.