The Circle Interchange (also called the Spaghetti Bowl) is an expressway interchange near downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the junction between the Dan Ryan, Eisenhower and Kennedy expressways (Interstates 90/94 and 290). The name refers to the curving ramps that appear to form concentric rings when viewed from above, and is commonly used by local radio traffic reporters.
The interchange is notorious for its traffic jams. In 2004, it was rated as the country's third-worst traffic bottleneck, with drivers losing a combined 25 million hours while stuck in it.
The Circle is logically a stack interchange, with each of the four mainlines having a single entrance and exit serving both directions of the crossing highway. However, it does not use the quadruple-decker architecture commonly associated with such interchanges. Instead, it has a flattened layout, using the long, curving ramps to circumnavigate the crossing of the mainlines. This results in fewer tall bridges and gives the interchange its distinctive "circle" appearance.
Both I-90/94 and I-290/Congress Parkway have six lanes in each direction at the interchange. Each of the ramps leading to and from the freeways is one lane wide, except for the ramp from eastbound I-290 to southbound I-90/94; this ramp is two lanes wide.
The interchange centers on Congress Parkway (the east-west surface street that is the continuation of the Eisenhower Expressway beyond its terminus several blocks east of the interchange) and extends roughly from Halsted Street on the west to Jefferson Street on the east.
The University of Illinois at Chicago is adjacent to the southwest. When the campus opened in the 1960s, it was called the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, making it the only university in the world known to be named after a freeway interchange.
The May 2008 issue of Popular Mechanics listed The Circle Interchange among their list of The 10 Pieces of U.S. Infrastructure We Must Fix Now.
Governor Quinn Announces $420 Million Circle Interchange Reconstruction Is Moving Forward State Will Seek Federal Funds for Critical Project to Ease Congestion, Create Jobs and Improve Safety by Fixing Nation's #1 Bottleneck
Mar 14, 2013; CHICAGO -- The following information was released by the Illinois Government News Network: Following approval today by a key...
GOVERNOR QUINN ANNOUNCES STUDIES ON CIRCLE INTERCHANGE RECONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING WORK FIRST STEP TOWARD REDUCING DELAYS, HARMFUL EMISSIONS.
Apr 24, 2012; CHICAGO -- The following information was released by the Illinois Government News Network: Governor Pat Quinn announced today...