Interstate 255 Will Reopen One Month Ahead Of Schedule
Updated at 1:15 p.m. Oct. 22 with reopening details
COLLINSVILLE — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that the Interstate 255 rehabilitation project will be completed by Nov. 1.
State Department of Transportation officials said they need a few days of dry weather to make the finishing touches to the interstate before it reopens to traffic.
The project closed down the whole interstate between I-55 and Illinois Route 15 last February for bridge repairs, drainage upgrades and resurfacing.
Pritzker said the highway, which can see as many as 57,000 vehicles at its heaviest usage, received a total of $67 million in upgrades.
IDOT officials originally expected the roadway would be closed until Thanksgiving, but they gave their contractor a financial incentive to finish early.
This project is one of the first in which IDOT completely closed a roadway for work. That decision allowed the state to finish the project in a matter of months instead of years and save taxpayers $14 million, Pritzker said.
Updated June 10 with new closure details
The Illinois Department of Transportation will completely close a three-mile stretch of Interstate 255 on Saturday for the second phase of major work on the roadway, the department announced Wednesday.
Road crews will close the highway between I-64 and Illinois Route 15, now that the first phase of the project between I-55 and I-64 is finished.
IDOT officials encourage drivers to avoid the entire I-255 project between I-55 and IL-15 on Saturday, as workers will close the whole interstate during parts of the day to make the switch.
Officials expect this next closure will last until November, with the highway ready to reopen for the Thanksgiving holiday.
IDOT officials also announced the Martin Luther King Bridge will reopen in August.
Updated Jan. 13 with exact closure dates
An IDOT spokesperson told St. Louis Public Radio the department expects the section of Interstate 255 between Collinsville Road and Interstate 64 will close on Feb. 1, 2020, and will re-open in June. The second section, from I-64 to Illinois Route 15, will close in June. IDOT expects the entire roadway will be open by Thanksgiving.
Original story from Oct. 22:
BELLEVILLE — The Illinois Department of Transportation will completely close a seven-mile stretch of Interstate 255 early next year.
The major rehabilitation project spans Illinois Route 15 to Collinsville Road and includes resurfacing, significant bridge repairs and other safety improvements.
The construction area will be split into two halves divided by Interstate 64, IDOT District Eight Studies and Plans Engineer Tiffany Brase said. Next year, I-255 from Collinsville Road to I-64 will close first, with the southern portion from I-64 to Route 15 closing once the first section is complete.
“We’re saying approximately five months for each half,” she said. “A lot of that will depend on who the contractor is and the needs and methods he goes about to complete the work.”
Most highways remain partially open during construction, but that would have extended the construction time and costs, Brase said.
“Had we done this by typical stage construction, the project could have lasted anywhere from three to four years,” she said. “We are saving about $14 million overall by doing this as a full closure.”
Fully closing the highway also ensures greater safety for workers and a better overall product, Brase added.
IDOT suggests commuters use Illinois routes 3, 15, 157, 159 and 161 as alternates.
I-255 handles on average of 57,000 cars a day during its heaviest usage, Brase said. The department expects alternate routes in the region will see traffic increases of between 25% and 50%.
But some nearby residents have not yet started to consider those routes or how the closure may impact them.
“I really haven’t thought about it that much,” Belleville resident Calvin Lucas, 65, said. “It’ll be pretty inconvenient for awhile, but I guess we’ll have to deal with it.”
IDOT wants commuters who will be impacted by the closure aware of the project.
“With this project being constructed under two seperate total closures, we felt it was best to start getting the word out early to the public to let them know this was coming,” Brase said. The department doesn’t want people to be caught off guard by a closure in February.
The department already hosted one public meeting on Oct. 16. Brase said residents at that meeting were excited to see the major rehab project move forward.
The next meeting is 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Clyde C. Jordan Center in East St. Louis. The department will host a final meeting at Wirth/Parks Middle School in Cahokia on Nov. 7.
Eric Schmid covers the Metro East for St. Louis Public Radio as part of the journalism grant program Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Follow Eric on Twitter: @EricDSchmid.
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