I-290 Eisenhower Expressway/Blue Line Forest Park Branch corridor coordination

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA), and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) are working together to create a unified vision for the I-290 Eisenhower Expressway/Blue Line Forest Park Branch corridor. This partnership aims to accelerate work to improve the current operation, ongoing maintenance, and long-term investment in multimodal transportation facilities along the corridor.

Despite the importance of the corridor, its highway and transit facilities are deteriorating and leading to traffic safety concerns, significant congestion, flooding risks, and pedestrian and transit accessibility issues. Given these challenges, both IDOT and the CTA have active and near-term projects to improve existing conditions. IDOT’s projects include addressing roadway conditions and improving drainage systems, while the CTA is completing trackwork upgrades and improving train station accessibility. However, due to the length and multimodal nature of the corridor, coordinating and financing near-term improvements continues to be a challenge.

Two images side by side at a US DOT workshop. On the right, a group of professionals engaged in a meeting, with one person actively taking notes while another participant holds up their phone, likely taking a photograph or video. On the right, a map is displayed on the table. One person points to the map and another writes a note with a marker.
CMAP hosted a local technical assistance workshop facilitated by the USDOT’s Build America Bureau to continue to build momentum and address barriers to progress along the corridor. Attendees included the core project partners, local partners, and federal partners, among others.

The complexities and challenges along the corridor prompted this new partnership between the CTA, IDOT, and CMAP, which was formalized through a Joint Statement of Understanding (JSOU) signed in December 2023. The JSOU outlines the importance of creating and implementing a unified vision for work along the corridor, in addition to identifying principles that address infrastructure deficiencies, improve mobility, and enhance safety and accessibility, among others.

The JSOU also includes a commitment to jointly fund a corridor development office (CDO). The CDO will provide critical strategic support to advance progress along the corridor. CDO responsibilities include long-term corridor program visioning, coordinating and sequencing projects, developing funding plans, supporting coordination with federal partners, tracking progress, and strategic communications and messaging. CMAP continues to work with our region’s partners to support innovation in project delivery.

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