- For the expressway in New York City, see JFK Expressway
|Maintained by IDOT|
|Length:||17.80 mi (28.65 km)|
|Existed:||1960 – present|
|West end:||O'Hare International Airport in Chicago|
| US 12 / US 45 in Chicago
I-294 in Rosemont
I-90 / I-190 in Chicago
IL 171 in Chicago
IL 43 in Chicago
I-94 in Chicago
IL 19 in Chicago
IL 64 in Chicago
|East end:||I-90 / I-94 / I-290 / IL 110 in Chicago|
The John F. Kennedy Expressway is a 17.8-mile (28.65 km) long freeway that travels northwest from the Chicago Loop to O'Hare International Airport. The highway is named for the 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, and conforms to the Chicago-area convention of using the somewhat misleading suffix Expressway. The Interstate 90 portion of the Kennedy is a part of the much longer I-90 (which runs 3,111.52 miles (5,007.51 km) from Boston, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington). The Kennedy's official endpoints are the Circle Interchange with Interstate 290 (Eisenhower Expressway/Congress Parkway) and the Dan Ryan Expressway (also I-90/94) at the east end, and the O'Hare Airport terminals at the west end. The Interstate 190 portion of the Kennedy is 3.07 miles (4.94 km) long and is meant to serve airport traffic. Interstate 90 picks up the Kennedy destination and runs a further 6.29 miles (10.12 km), before joining with I-94 for the final 8.44 miles (13.58 km).
Traveling eastbound from O'Hare, the Kennedy interchanges with the eastern terminus of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90) and with the Tri-State Tollway (Interstate 294) at a complex junction just west of Illinois Route 171 (Cumberland Avenue). The Kennedy later merges with the southern end of the Edens Expressway (Interstate 94) at Montrose Avenue; the Kennedy (at this point both I-90 and I-94) then turns south to its junction with the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower Expressways and Congress Parkway at the Circle Interchange in downtown Chicago.
The Kennedy was originally constructed along the route of Avondale Avenue, an existing diagonal street, and the northwest railroad corridor, in the late 1950s and completed on November 5, 1960. Originally named the Northwest Expressway for its general direction of travel, the Chicago City Council voted unanimously on November 29, 1963—one week after the assassination of President Kennedy—to rename the highway the John F. Kennedy Expressway. Until 1978, the Kennedy Expressway was marked as Interstate 94 and Illinois 194, Interstate 90 and Interstate 190 replaced Illinois 194 and thus the Eisenhower Expressway was renamed from Interstate 90 to Interstate 290.
The express portion of the freeway was last reconstructed from 1992 through 1994, when the existing express lanes, which previously were reversed by hand, were modernized. In addition, all aspects of the express lanes system were computerized, so that the process could be controlled at both ends from a central location. At least once a day, however, IDOT crews still examine the express lanes for debris while the lanes are still closed.
One feature of the Kennedy Expressway is the Chicago Transit Authority's Blue Line that lies in the median for about ten miles (16 km) from just south of Addison Street to just east of Mannheim Road. In 1984, the city of Chicago decided that the best option to serve the needs of the people regarding public transportation,was a rapid transit line constructed in the median to O'Hare Airport instead of a fourth lane in both directions. This had been done previously in the early 1950s within the medians of the Eisenhower Expressway, and for the Dan Ryan Expressway in 1969. The decision proved to be wise, as the rail line is heavily traveled by commuters and travelers during the rush hour.
The second distinct feature of the Kennedy Expressway are its reversible express lanes where Interstate 94 merges into Interstate 90. The reversible lanes lie in the median of the highway from the Kennedy Expressway/Edens Expressway junction until just north of the Loop (at Ohio street), a distance of about 8 miles (13 km). These reversible lanes allow 2 lanes of traffic to flow towards or away from the city, depending on the time of the day. The lanes are controlled by computers and verified by humans at a separate control center. Steel mesh barriers and breakaway gates prevent traffic from entering oncoming lanes. To date, there has never been a successful wrong-way vehicle incursion incident in the express lanes.
The final distinct feature are the last two miles (3 km) — there are 9 exits in 2 miles (3.2 km) along mileposts 50 and 51, and the southbound exit to Interstate 290 and Congress Parkway is marked as exits 51H and I. While the density of interchanges is quite dangerous, the hazard is partially offset by the fact that exits are 500 feet (152 m) apart and on the right hand side, while entrances to the highway are also 500 feet (150 m) apart, but on the left side. In spite of the separated nature of the interchanges, there is little to no acceleration zone on the entrance ramps, and traffic on the ramps cannot see mainline traffic until the last fifty feet (15 m) of the ramp. Many believe that these factors make these entrances unsafe, and avoid them. Because of these factors, the speed limit is still 45 mph (70 km/h) in this area, and most people choose to use Ohio Street or Congress Parkway since these entrances are on the right. In December 2005, as part of replacing the Washington Street bridge, the city of Chicago closed its entrance ramps to the Kennedy as a safety measure while still allowing access to the expressway from the West Loop. A major construction project to revamp these so called 'suicide ramps' was started in 2009.
The Kennedy Expressway was the location of a large Magikist lips flashing sign which was a Chicago pop culture icon for many years. Located at the southeast corner where Montrose Avenue abutted the expressway, the sign was torn down in 2004.
Exit list 
The entire route is in Cook County.
|Chicago||0.00||O'Hare International Airport||Continuation beyond Bessie Coleman Drive|
|0.99||Bessie Coleman Drive – International Terminal 5|
|1.27||2||US 12 / US 45 (Mannheim Road) (10400 West)||Signed as exits 2A (west/north) and 2B (east/south); eastbound exit to US 12 east/US 45 south is via Bessie Coleman Drive|
|Rosemont||1.79||1D||I-294 south (Tri-State Tollway) – Indiana||Signed as exit 1D eastbound|
|1.81||1C||I-294 north (Tri-State Tollway) to I-90 west (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) – Milwaukee, Rockford||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|2.24||1||River Road (9400 West)||Signed as exits 1A (north) and 1B (south) eastbound|
|East end of I-190|
|3.07/78.7||I-90 west (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) to I-294 north (Tri-State Tollway) – Rockford, Milwaukee||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; Westbound Kennedy Expressway takes exit 78 from I-90|
|79.6||79||IL 171 south (Cumberland Avenue (8400 West))||Signed as exits 79A (south) and 79B (north)|
|80.3||80||Canfield Road (7900 West)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|81.2||81A||IL 43 (Harlem Avenue (7200 West))|
|81.2||81B||Sayre Avenue (7000 West)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|82.2||82A||Nagle Avenue (6432 West)||No westbound exit|
|82.4||82B||Bryn Mawr Avenue (5600 North)||Westbound exit only|
|82.8||82C||Austin Avenue (6000 West)||Eastbound exit only|
|83.3||83A||Foster Avenue (5200 North)||No eastbound exit|
|83.5||83B||Central Avenue (5600 West)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|84.2||84||Lawrence Avenue (4800 North)||Signed to Interstate 94 West; Wisconsin|
|West end of I-90/I-94 overlap; west end of express lanes|
|84.8/43.32||I-94 west (Edens Expressway) – Milwaukee||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; colloquially known as The Junction; Westbound Kennedy Expressway takes exit 43B from I-90/I-94; Travailing from I-90 to I-94 in either direction can use exit 44A, left on Keeler Ave, and reenter I-90/I-94 although merging may be difficult.|
|43.6||43C||Montrose Avenue (4400 North)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|43.9||43D||Kostner Avenue (4400 West)||Westbound exit only|
|44.2-44.4||44A||IL 19 (Irving Park Road (4000 North)) / Keeler Avenue (4200 West)||No westbound exit|
|44.4-44.6||44B||IL 19 (Irving Park Road (4000 North)) / Pulaski Road (Chicago)(4000 West)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|45.1||45A||Addison Street (3600 North)|
|45.5||45B||Kimball Avenue (3400 West)|
|45.8||45C||Belmont Avenue (3200 North) to Kedzie Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|46.1||Sacramento Avenue (3000 West)||Eastbound entrance only|
|46.3||46A||California Avenue (2800 West)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|46.5||46B||Diversey Avenue (2800 North)||Westbound exit only and eastbound entrance|
|47.05-47.5||47A||Western Avenue (2400 West), Fullerton Avenue (2400 North)||Western Avenue has only a westbound exit and an eastbound entrance. The exit splits off from the westbound entrance from Fullerton; similarly, the entrance merges with the eastbound exit to Fullerton. Consequently, all traffic wishing to move between the Kennedy and Western Avenue must first cross Fullerton.|
|47.6||47B||Damen Avenue (2000 West)||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|48.15||48A||Armitage Avenue (2000 North)|
|48.7||48B||IL 64 (North Avenue (1600 North))|
|49.4||49A||Division Street (1200 North)|
|49.7-49.8||49B||Augusta Boulevard (1000 North), Milwaukee Avenue||Westbound exit and eastbound entrance|
|50.1||50A||Ogden Avenue (1200 West)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|East end of express lanes|
|50.4||50B||Ohio Street east (600 North)|
|51.0||51A||Lake Street (200 North)||Westbound exit only|
|51.1||51B||Randolph Street west (150 North)||Westbound entrance & exit, Eastbound exit only|
|51.2||51C||Washington Boulevard east (100 North)||Both entrance ramps have been demolished|
|51.3||51D||Madison Street (0 North/South)|
|51.4||51E||Monroe Street (100 South)||Right exits, no entrances|
|51.5||51F||Adams Street west (200 South)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|51.6||51G||Jackson Boulevard east (300 South)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|51.8||51H||I-290 / IL 110 west (Eisenhower Expressway) – West Suburbs||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|51.8||51I||Congress Parkway – Chicago Loop (500 South)||Eastbound exit and westbound entrance|
|I-90 east / I-94 east (Dan Ryan Expressway) – Indiana||Continuation beyond I-290|
- Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Retrieved 2007-11-08.
- Northwest Expressway Is Renamed for Kennedy Chicago Tribune. Published November 30, 1963. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
- Hilkevitch, John. Buckle up, it looks like a long ride. Chicago Tribune. Published March 26, 2006. Retrieved March 26, 2006.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kennedy Expressway|
- John F. Kennedy Expressway (I-90 and I-94) at Steve Anderson's ChicagoRoads.com
- Historic, Current & Average Travel Times For The Kennedy Expressway