top: Willis & Bart w/ LED billboard – Chicago 2016
above: Jane Byrne Circle Interchange with Willis Tower – Chicago 2016
Since I began photographing the Jane Byrne Circle Interchange Reconstruction Project in Chicago more than a year ago, I’ve become even more impressed with the size and scope of the project and how quickly it’s been executed. I drive through the construction zone on a daily basis so I get to see close up, how the construction/reconstruction is progressing each day.
The NW Flyover is what initially attracted me to the huge and complex project, and I’ve been photographing it continuously through out the last year. Working mostly at dusk and at night, I’ve tried to include moving vehicles during my long exposures, to hint at the intensity and often frenetic place that is the Circle Interchange.
McHugh Construction began the 475 million dollar project in October 2014. Right from the start they did such a good job of keeping traffic flowing through the infamous bottleneck, that I hadn’t really noticed much during my daily commute.That is until one day when I saw the jagged section of roadbed for the NW Flyover hanging precariously out over I-90/I-94.
NW Flyover – Chicago 9/19/15 (cell phone image)
At first, the section of the flyover looked slightly dystopian to me. But after days of travelling through the Circle Interchange and below the jagged piece of engineered road bed, I knew I wanted to photograph the project.
The Circle Interchange Project reminds me of the construction sites my dad would take me to as a kid. A civil engineer and teacher by trade, he loved taking our family to see all kinds of bridges, construction sites and other interesting structures.
my father at USGS surveyors camp circa 1955 – Wisconsin
under the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway – Chicago 2016
According to the American Transportation Research Institute and the Federal Highway Administration, the Circle Interchange is the slowest and most congested highway freight bottleneck in the nation with more than 400,000 vehicles traveling through the Interchange on a daily basis, and between 900-1,100 crashes are reported on average per year.
Jane Byrne Circle Interchange map