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Untangling A Mangling

Once upon a time there was no Circle Interchange, no expressways. But we've got the monsters and it's up to IDOT to keep them as much in balance with urban ecosystems as possible. That cloggtastic Circle Interchange messes with even the most practiced commuters and creates a black hole between the West Loop, South Loop, Loop, and University Village. Thus, with repairs slated, the state would like to seize its opportunity to rework the whole shit-show. A study and community consultation process, launched in the spring, should take roughly two years. But just last week, IDOT came forward with five concepts for the Circle's reconstruction. All add more lanes of traffic, some add an extra deck or two (for as many as four levels), and all try to mitigate the sharp curves and sporadic exits that compound the chaos. Despite pledges to stay within the existing right-of-way, expect major disruptions for a lengthy period. The total cost: up to $375M. Just think how much BRT that would buy. [Skyline, photo: circleinterchange.org]