The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Ten Years to Build Highway Ramps?

Feb 17, 2020

Construction to make new ramps for the Jane Byrne interchange where three major highways come together next to downtown Chicago began in 2012. This bottleneck, also known as the “circle” or spaghetti bowl, certainly needed work: it was rated the worst bottleneck in the U.S. for trucks.

Chicagoans could understand that the construction would take time and would create additional traffic. It’s happening in a very densely packed city situation.

But now the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) says the construction won’t be done until November of 2022—at the earliest!

Ten years of delays and lane closures where traffic was already some of the worst in the country? How many billions of hours of workers’ time is being taken up sitting in our cars waiting for this project to be done? By comparison, building the whole highway system in the city took less than 20 years!

The basic problem is that the entire system is set up to make sure each contractor gets a cut—not to make sure the work gets done as quickly as possible. Instead of IDOT planning out the work and hiring as many people as it could efficiently put to work to get the project done, it hired different engineering companies, architecture companies, and construction companies, each dedicated to making a profit, not efficiently finishing the work. IDOT is not even allowed to hire a single contractor to oversee the whole process.

The defenders of this system want to say capitalism is the most efficient system. Ten years of additional traffic to build new ramps in the center of a congested city proves that is a lie!