ILLINOIS TOLLWAY WORK ON THE NEW TRI-STATE TOLLWAY (I-294)/I-57 INTERCHANGE SCHEDULED TO BEGIN NEXT WEEK
Three lanes in both directions on I-294 to remain open during peak hours
DOWNERS GROVE, IL - The Illinois Tollway's work on the new Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange Project is scheduled to begin the week of May 7, starting with the rebuilding and widening of the I-294 bridges over 147th Street. The $719 million interchange project will connect I-294 and I-57, one of only two points in the nation where interstates cross but do not connect, as part of the Tollway's $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.
"We're excited to begin work on this critical interchange project that will finally provide direct access to the Tollway system from I-57," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. "This year, we will spend more than $29 million on the I-294/57 Interchange, creating good-paying construction jobs and new opportunities for communities in the Chicago Southland."
The first phase of the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange Project will create access from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294 and southbound I-294 to southbound I-57, including a new interchange at 147th Street. These improvements are scheduled to be completed in 2014 and will provide approximately 75 percent of the regional travel benefits.
This year, the Illinois Tollway will begin advance work to prepare for construction of the new interchange at 147th Street. As part of the work, the I-294 bridges over 147th Street will be completely rebuilt and widened to accommodate construction of a northbound entrance ramp to I-294 from I-57 and a southbound exit ramp from I-294 to 147th Street, as well as the reconstruction and widening of 147th Street.
In addition to the Tollway's work, this year, IDOT will complete the $35 million rebuilding of the existing northbound and southbound I-57 bridge structures over I-294 and the $7 million replacement and widening the Kedzie Avenue Bridge over I-57. The state's Illinois Jobs Now! capital investment in 2010 helped rebuild and widen the I-57 overpass at I-294, a critical first step toward building a full interchange at the site.
The new, all-electronic I-294/57 interchange will accommodate 76,000 vehicles per day and save drivers $4 million annually in fuel consumption. The full interchange is expected to be completed in 2024.
Work Begins Week of May 7
Advance work will begin the morning of Monday, May 7, to begin reducing traffic on I-294 to three lanes in each direction over 147th Street for the duration of this year's work. The first construction stage will shift traffic in both directions onto the I-294 southbound bridge, allowing workers to rebuild and widen the northbound bridge. Once the northbound bridge is completed and opened to traffic, work will begin to reconstruct the southbound bridge.
In addition, on 147th Street, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction to accommodate demolition of the existing bridge structure, as well as to facilitate construction of the new bridge structure.
Bridge reconstruction work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012 and includes bridge removal and replacement, construction of new embankments and piers to lengthen the I-294 bridges over 147th Street, shoulder and guardrail removal and replacement, pavement milling and resurfacing, drainage improvements and underpass lighting.
The Tollway's work on the project this year also includes the realignment of Dixie Creek. Realignment of the creek is necessary as it currently runs through the pathway of the future interchange ramp that will take drivers from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294. Dixie Creek work will not impact Tollway traffic.
Work Zone Safety
A 45 mph speed limit is in effect 24/7 in all construction zones, whether or not workers are present. Drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns, milled surfaces, uneven pavement levels and traffic shifts at bridges and use caution at all times.
Illinois State Police have zero tolerance for drivers speeding in work zones. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375. Posted signs advise drivers of a $10,000 fine and 14-year jail sentence for hitting a roadway worker.
Getting Tollway Construction Information
The Tollway offers a variety of ways for drivers to get the latest information, including:
. www.illinoistollway.com - Construction/Planning Section - for details by road
. 1-800-TOLL-FYI - Daily lane closure information
. www.travelmidwest.com - Real-time travel times
. Up-to-the-minute traffic by roadway - www.nbcchicago.com
. eNewsletter - www.illinoistollway.com
About Move Illinois
The Illinois Tollway's $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, will improve mobility, relieve congestion, reduce pollution, create 120,000 jobs and link economies across the Midwest region. Move Illinois will address the remaining needs of the existing Tollway system; rebuild and widen the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor; construct a new interchange to connect the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to I-57; build a new, all-electronic Elgin O'Hare West Bypass and fund planning studies for the Illinois Route 53 Extension and the Illiana Expressway.
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).