Let me preface this by saying that I am far from a structural engineer, urban planner or anything of the sort. This said, I have a suggestion for Ike expansion that seems logical to me though I have never heard it explored. Clearly, space is limited. IDOT wants more lanes and Oak Park doesn't want to and can't afford to give up the space.
I would suggest that instead of "Capping the Ike" they "Bury the Blue Line." If the Blue Line were to go underground around Central where the bottleneck starts and emerge near Des Plaines, it would free up considerable space at ground level. There would need to be some reconfiguration of the Blue Line ramps and stairs to go underground, plus other logistical work but over all, it seems plausible to me.
The space above could offer a fourth lane in either direction and likely enough room to have proper entrance/exit ramps on the right side. For anyone who has ever been to Boston, they were able to put their entire highway system underground in the Big Dig, and that city is old and complicated. Don't get scared about comparing Big Dig costs as that was a far more complex proposition.
Again, I am not an engineer, but rather than taking land away when there isn't any, I would suggest utilizing unused space underground. Just a thought.
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