02. "Lifeline for the Middle City," rendering of proposed crosstown expressway, c.1977.
The Crosstown Expressway, also known as Interstate 494 or the "Burnham Corridor," was a proposed highway through the West Side of Chicago which had been considered in various iterations for decades. It gained currency in the 1960s with the publication of the third volume of the Chicago Area Transportation Study. The L-shaped road, which was to have run north-south near Cicero Avenue and east-west at 95th Street, was envisioned as a link between the Northwest (now Kennedy), Congress (now Eisenhower), and Dan Ryan expressways. By 1963, however, government support for new highway construction was wavering, with increasing concern over programs of mass demolition. Though suburban communities were generally supportive of the project, inner-city community groups rallied against it, and fearing political repercussions, Mayor Daley relented. The project was finally cancelled for good in 1979 by Mayor Jane Byrne when the earmarked highway funds were transferred to the Interstate Highway Transfer Fund and then eventually to the CTA in order to fund the elevated train extensions to O'Hare and Midway airports.

"Chicago Looks Ahead: 100 Years of Planning, 1909-2009," Case 8, Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, September 29–December 1, 2010
Link to R&B Archives Digital Collections record