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Evening Rush Hour Traffic Northwest Expressway in Chicago

The Northeast Expressway, later named the Kennedy Expressway after the death of the President of the United States John F. Kennedy in 1963. The highway was constructed in the late-1950s and finally completed and opened to traffic on November 5, 1960.

The southeastern portion of the roadway begins on the west side of the City of Chicago, Illinois, and continues in a northwesterly direction to O’Hare International Airport. Today’s expandable feature image below taken in 1961 by  Chicago area Kaufmann and Fabry photographers. This view of the highway’s northbound lanes was shot from the Montrose Avenue overpass during the evening rush hour.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photo courtesy of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

24 responses to “Evening Rush Hour Traffic Northwest Expressway in Chicago

  1. In the middle lane, 2nd car, is a 1959 BUICK,.

    On the far right, 1st car in lane, is a 1961 BUICK, either a LeSabre or Invicta Riviera.

  2. Looks like Chicago had a love of GMC vehicles – few Ford’s pictured.
    Also no truck restriction in the left lane(s).

  3. Second row over from the right; 3 cars back is a tiny (in comparison) Simca Aronde , keeping pace with a new `61 Cadillac.

    • The Simca looks like the original Simca 9 that was built between 1951 and 1955. It had all of 44 HP and a tested 0-60 time of 30 seconds and a top speed of 74 mph so it would keep up with the Caddy but would take considerable time to get there. I’m a bit surprised the French car was still on the road in 1963.

  4. I see some 1961 models (Pontiac, Buick, Plymouth and Dodge), the oldest cars appear to be a couple of ’54 Fords?

  5. I spent many an hour sitting here, most of the time, getting paid for it, until I got my own truck, that is. Montrose , going west from downtown, is toward the end, and usually opens up by then. Guaranteed, it was like this from the downtown spaghetti bowl ( the Loop). The only time it didn’t look like this, was between 1 and 4 am. Speaking of trucks, in the left lane, very right, to us, ( like Jim says, will buy you a “left lane” award today) are an IH R190, another R190, and an IH VCO 195 bobtail behind them . The truck in far right lane, our left( where they should be) looks like another IH, V190? Why so many IH trucks in Chicago? They were headquartered there.

    • Actually, now that I think about it, I believe the truck lane restriction ends near Montrose, as it is just before the tollway, and if you don’t get over early, like these truckers did, you’ll never get over. Trust me, Chicago drivers are not intimidated by large trucks.

  6. 1st thing I noticed after looking for familiar to spot cars was how many have only the driver in them. I would have been by myself too, but afraid those days of “driving” instead of just being in a transportation device are soon ending. My dad, (a truck driver Howard) used to say: “They ain’t drivers, they’re steering wheel holders” about the general masses, ha ! Those days are ending now too !!!!!

  7. The left lane not only is the only one separated by painted lines but it also has pavement of a different color indicating it is an exit lane from the main thoroughfare. Trucks would be allowed to exit here. Looking at a map one sees that one would have to be in the left lane to bear left to remain on the Kennedy Expressway.

  8. I can see four 1960 Falcons, including one right in front of that Edsel.

    Just north of Montrose is where the expressway splits, left to O’Hare, right lanes turn into the Edens. so those trucks being in the left lane makes perfect sense to be heading towards the airport and avoiding the lane switching going on in the middle. Thats the scary place, idiots still don’t decide which way until its almost too late.

    That unfinished median strip with the signs and light poles became the Reversible Lanes. Those are changeable to provide two more lanes either inbound or outbound, depending on the time of day.

  9. Small point, but that would have been the “Northwest” Expressway originally and would have continued on as the Northwest Tollway up thru Rockford on its way to the state line at So. Beloit. Any “Northeast” Expressway in Chicago would have been drivable (navigable?) by Amphicars only.

    The Northwest Tollway initially had very few entrances and exits over its 70-80 miles and you would be handed an IBM punch card at the booth as you got on and would hand this in as you exited, paying the appropriate toll for whatever portion you had travelled. Supposedly the cards were time-stamped and if you arrived at your exit sooner than would be possible at the posted limit you could be cited for speeding but I have no idea of this ever happened.

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