The Franklin Street Connector was a proposed link between the Dan Ryan Expressway and an interchange with Lower Wacker Dr. It didn't materialize, but it was never more needed than when it was proposed in the early 1970s.
Evidence of its need is the constant and annoying backup on the northbound Dan Ryan leading to the Jane Byrne Interchange. The Franklin Connector would have alleviated some of that backup. perhaps even a lot. The Connector, however, died with the Central Area Plan that would have, among other things, sunk some of the Loop L into a subway. The latter idea died because its extravagant costs and construction disruption in the Loop were unjustifiable.
But the Franklin Street Connector remains a worthy idea because 0f the large number of cars and trucks headed for downtown that would be diverted. The Connector would take motorists from the Dan Ryan directly downtown via a link-up with upper and lower Wacker Drive and Franklin Street. Loop-bound traffic no longer would have to contend with the through traffic heading for the Kennedy or Eisenhower expressways. The Connector, combined with the flyovers now being constructed at the Jane Byrne Intersection would go a long way to alleviate the north Dan Ryan tie-ups
While the costs of building the Franklin Street Connector now would be huge, it could be more easily justified by the reduced environmental damage caused by the everlasting stop-go-stop congestion on the Dan Ryan's north leg. Think of all the pollution that cars and trucks stalled on the Dan Ryan now pour into the air. Think of all the energy that would be saved by more smoothly flowing traffic.
Of course there would be opposition from people who oppose any new expressway construction as a matter of principle. They believe leads to urban sprawl and encourages people to drive more. The Franklin Street Connector obviously would not encourage urban sprawl. It might encourage a slight increase in driving as motorists from the South Side and southern suburbs no longer would have to contend with the Dan Ryan backups. But most people who would use the Franklin Street Connector already are in their cars.
More details of the Connector proposal are found in the 1972 proposed environmental impact statement. It officially describes the project an expressway with ramps to major cross streets running 1.8 miles from the intersection of I-90 and I-94 (the Dan Ryan Expressway) and I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) near W. 24th Street to a connection with Wacker Drive and Harrison Street.