On The Road

QC Trip – Day 1 (Rockford, Chicago, Bloomington, Lincoln).

Started out the day being greeted by this VMS with the message "I-80 EB Closed at Mississippi River". Had to turn around and trudge southward along the real I-74 eastbound, which was equally under construction for an ARRA based resurfacing project. A routine inspection revealed damage to a faulty floor beam and currently only one lane of westbound traffic is permitted to use the bridge due to repairs. Work began on April 5, 2010 on a $10.3-million project. Construction on the October 27, 1966-opened span will shift to the westbound lanes by early July, with on eastbound lane restored at that time.

A new set of Clearview signs were added to the 2008-replaced Lincoln Road overpass. Signs over the westbound lanes were added during the evening of May 5 as we drove under.

Clearview signs were also added to Interstate 180 north at Interstate 80. The freeway spur remains vastly devoid of traffic.

Interstate 80 traffic is squeezed down to one lane per direction as crews completely replace the westbound spans over East Bureau and Brush Creeks (between Exits 61 and the La Salle County line).

Turned north onto Interstate 39 & U.S. 51, which surprisingly had more traffic then we anticipated.

Joining U.S. 20 eastbound on Interstate 39 & U.S. 51 north. U.S. 51 utilizes the Northwest Tollway with Interstates 39 & 90 east of the split with U.S. 20.

Virtually all signage along the Interstate 39-90 & U.S. 51 triplex in Rockford was replaced. Guide signs utilize Clearview font, and a few U.S. 51 shields do as well.

Hart Road eastbound sees a diamond interchange with Interstate 43 (Exit 2). The at-grade intersections of both off-ramps are in the process of being converted to roundabouts.

Wisconsin typically uses uni-signs on a black panel for shield assemblies of various types. Junction shields for Interstate 39 and Wisconsin 81 join the end sign for Interstate 43 in this particular group. Even after the many years since Interstate 39 was extended north into Wisconsin, there is still no mention of it on the Exit 1A/B guide signs for Interstate 90.

Southbound at the eastbound split of Interstate 90 from Interstate 39 at Rockford. A two-lane flyover was added to replace a loop ramp that brings Interstate 39 & U.S. 51 north onto the Northwest Tollway.

Interstate 90 (Northwest Tollway) retains some button copy signage leading east from Rockford toward Chicago. A state-named Interstate 290 shield resides on this mileage sign found just east of the split with Interstate 39.

A 17 mile exit less stretch culminates at the U.S. 20 trumpet interchange north of Hampshire. Exits along the Illinois Tollway system remain number less at this time.

Older button copy signs posted along the Northwest Tollway omit the state name from the route markers and include no control points. A number of suburban exits line the stretch between Elgin and Schaumburg.

The Illinois Tollway system typically uses state-based or suburbs-based control points for its Interstate highways. Occassionally though, Interstate 294 north will use Milwaukee as the destination of choice.

Interstate 90 (Kennedy Expressway) splits with a set of express lanes ahead of the merge with Interstate 94 (Edens Expressway) east. The express lanes are reversible and line the median of the north-south portion of the Kennedy.

The Interstates 90 & 94 (Kennedy Expressway) express lanes periodically see slip ramps to and from the general travel lanes. The express lanes feature less entry and exit points, and thus few slowdowns due to merging traffic.

Continuing along the Interstates 90 & 94 express lanes leads drivers to the Kennedy Expressway inbound at Ohio Street. The express lanes default onto the Ohio Street freeway spur east while returning traffic to the mainline joins ahead of junction Interstate 290 (Eisenhower Expressway).

Trudging through the Congress interchange along Interstates 90 & 94 east. The ramp to Congress Parkway eastbound is presently closed as IlDOT reconstructs the Congress Parkway bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River. This work coincides with work to rebuild the Congress Parkway interchange with Lower Wacker Drive.

Information overload on this set of signs along Interstate 55 (Stevenson Expressway) northbound for McCormick Place.

A pair of begin shields usher in the start of Interstate 55 south from U.S. 41 (Lake Shore Drive) in Chicago. We head south to Lincoln.

Interstate 55 is fairly industrial in nature, angling southwest to a partial interchange with Interstate 294 (Tri-State Tollway). Access to Interstate 294 south requires one to take U.S. 12-20-45 south.

Interstate 55 reduces from six to four overall lanes between Interstate 80 and U.S. 6 (Exit 248).

Illinois 129 departs from the left-hand side of Interstate 55 south via Exit 238. The state route follows historic U.S. 66 through Braidwood.

Business Loop Interstate 55 follows a 1950s-built alignment of Historic U.S. 66 around the city of Bloomington. Motorists can find pretty much any business they desire along the north-south stretch of the commercial arterial.

We arrive at the south end of Interstate 155 outside Lincoln, where we drove last December, and thus clinch the entire 964.25-mile route.

Driving along Business Loop I-55 (Historic U.S. 66) in Lincoln, we spotted this wooden cutout along southbound. It appears to be a custom hand-painted replica.

Two-digit width Interstate 155 trailblazer posted along Illinoi 10 west & 121 north. Interstate 155 replaced IL-121 leading north to Morton.

Oddly shaped cirrus clouds north of Illinois 10 near Burton View. A frontal system moved in later this day and dropped 1″ of rain in many areas.

Approaching the Scott W. Lucas Memorial Bridge of U.S. 136 west across the Illinois River.

Westbound U.S. 136 after its split with U.S. 24 at Duncan Mills.

Spurred southward through the dilipated town of Vermont and discovered two old gas station signs at the town square. The stations are long gone, but both signs remain in good condition.

U.S. 67 follows a 65-mph expressway north from Good Hope to a brief merge with U.S. 34 around Monmouth.


  • "Eastbound lane of-80 bridge closed to traffic." Quad-City Times, May 12, 2009.
  • "I-80 eastbound closes today at Mississippi River." Quad-City Times, April 5, 2010.

One thought on “QC Trip – Day 1 (Rockford, Chicago, Bloomington, Lincoln).

  1. Brian

    You at least got to use the Kennedy express lanes inbound, which I swear is a rarity since I think the only time they’re inbound is around the morning rush. It was always outbound when I’ve come through during night/graveyard hours (although I used them going outbound coming though just after the evening rush one afternoon last year).

    And am I the only one who gets annoyed when control cities are placed in the wrong order, such as is depicted on the I-55 pullthrough at I-155?

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