Why all the traffic in Chicago yesterday?

This past weekend I drove round trip from northern Wisconsin to west central Indiana. Chicago could not realistically be bypassed. The way down Saturday we took the tollway around. I figured on Sunday, there would be less traffic in general and opted to go through the city. The original plan was to arrive near sunset but the schedule changed allowing us to get there late afternoon. Exclusive of the White Sox game letting out near to our arrival, what would have been the cause of the 15 mile stop and go traffic after the interchange reconstruction downtown? I understand the backup before we got there but after? Even on the expressway we crawled quite a while. I would understand if it were a weekday but I took a shot that Sunday would have much less traffic.
I did learn that my wife is not a good navigator when trying to use google maps and its road construction and traffic features.
Such a joy, I get to do it again this next Friday afternoon. Flying is not an option. Wonder what the ferry schedule to Michigan is.

Sunday afternoons in the summertime are nearly always busy for traffic, as people are coming back to Chicago from Wisconsin or Michigan from the weekend. If there was any road construction on your route, that would have just compounded the issue.

Friday afternoons tend to be similar, as people are heading out of town.

The last day of the taste of Chicago, PokeMonGo fest in Lincoln Park, Golf Tournaments in Northern and Western Suburbs. Plus, not weather, people heading to WI, Six Flags, typical Summer stuff.

There were also concerts at Wrigley Field Friday and Saturday, which I’m sure brought people into the city for the weekend.

And Rauner was in town so the whole area surrounding OHare was just nuts.

The best time to go through Edens/Kennedy/downtown Chicago/Dan Ryan/Skyway is about 2 AM. In my experience anyway. Otherwise, traffic traffic traffic and you’re better off taking 294 around, even though it’s a whole 7 miles longer, or some such low number.

Agreed. Also, 7am on Saturday or Sunday is typically wide-open, but, otherwise, it’s a crapshoot. The Tri-State (294) can be busy, too, but these days, usually isn’t too terrible on the weekends, except for right around ORD.

Depending on where in Wisconsin the OP is coming from, and where in Indiana he’s going to, swinging further west may be another option. One could use I-355 through the far western suburbs, or I-39 from Rockford, heading south to where it hits either I-88 or I-80.

Hijack – I will be travelling from near Jackson, MI to near La Crosse, WI. (in Auust and probbaly on a Monday) What is my best/easiest route around Chicago? (on the way there I will be taking the long way around through the UP)
(Since I rarely drive this way I do not have an IPass)


Probably the most straightforward route would be what Google Maps is suggesting to me as I look at it:

  • I-94 around the bottom of Lake Michigan / through NW Indiana
  • I-294 north to the O’Hare area
  • I-90 from that point, all the way to La Crosse

On a Monday, it won’t necessarily be terrible traffic, and the construction on I-90 in Illinois is pretty much complete, IIRC. The area on that route that’s most likely to be snarled is going through NW Indiana; traffic is nearly always very busy through that stretch. If you can avoid being in the Chicago area during rush hour, it’ll help.

However, you will be on tollways pretty much all of the way through Illinois. If you want to avoid tolls, you can take I-80 west, all the way to I-39, then take 39 north to Rockford, meeting up with I-90 there. I think you’d only have one toll on that route, but it looks like it adds about 40 minutes to the trip.

This drew a smile because I drive the Ike east pretty much every Sat a.m. around 6:40-7, and cruise as fast as I wanna go. Funny, because despite being a lifelong Chicago-arean, it gives me the false expectation that the road will be moving at any of the other random times I need to take it! :smack:

Check out the ferry service for a unique option.

Tollway IPass information – blow through the toll gates in the Ipass lanes. Note where you did it. Go online up to a week later and settle up. We did that last year when the wife panicked after being in the wrong lane and going through one. We’ll do it again next weekend. $8.80 on I-294/94 for five booths (just looked it up.)

We live near Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and are going to Terre Haute which is just off the Ind/Ill border. Avoiding Chicago without a grand detour is not realistic.

Ahhh, gotcha. My family is still up in Green Bay, so I drive the northern half of your route pretty frequently, and yes, taking 355 or 39 would be way out of your way.

My best advice, then, is to steer clear of going through the city itself, and stick to 294.

Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I take surface streets and avoid the Dan Ryan and Kennedy.

Those drivers are crazy.