Northwest Expressway in Chicago is Renamed John F. Kennedy Expressway

The Kennedy was originally constructed along the route of Avondale Avenue, an existing diagonal street, and the northwest railroad corridor, in the late 1950s and completed on November 5, 1960.

Originally named the Northwest Expressway for its general direction of travel, the Chicago City Council voted unanimously on November 29, 1963 to rename the highway the John F. Kennedy Expressway.

The express was last reconstructed from 1992 through 1994. The existing express lanes, which previously were reversed by hand, were modernized. In addition, all aspects of the express lanes system were computerized, so that the process could be controlled at both ends from a central location. At least once a day, however, IDOT crews still examine the express lanes for debris while the lanes are still closed.

By the time Congress created the Interstate Highway System in 1956, nearly all Chicago-area expressways were laid out, but federal funding pushed construction into high gear. The Kennedy Expressway opened in 1960, linking the Loop to the new O'Hare Airport and the Northwest Tollway (I-90). The Dan Ryan Expressway opened to 95th Street in 1961–62. The abandoned Illinois & Michigan Canal provided a convenient right-of-way through the city for the Stevenson Expressway (I-55), opened in 1964. Much of cross-country Interstate 80, skirting the south edge of the metropolitan area, opened at the same time.