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September 28, 2000

Governor Announces Reopening of Harlem to Canal Stretch of Stevenson Expressway
Ramp from Southbound Ryan to Outbound Stevenson Open Monday

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that all lanes of the reconstructed 9-mile section of the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) from Canal Street to Harlem Avenue will reopen on Monday, October 2, almost a month before its October 31 scheduled completion.

The $567 million reconstruction of the Stevenson Expressway is part of Governor Ryan's Illinois FIRST program, a 5-year, $12 billion program designed to build, repair and upgrade Illinois' critical infrastructure.

All three lanes in each direction, as well as the ramp from the southbound Dan Ryan Expressway (I-94) to the outbound Stevenson, will be open to normal traffic by 5 a.m., before Monday's rush hour. Work on the remaining 6-mile portion of the resurfaced highway, from Harlem Avenue to the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), including the reconstruction of the four bridges between the DesPlaines River and LaGrange Road, is on schedule for completion by October 31.

"Providing some relief to the motorist on this highway was a top priority of my administration," Ryan said. "I am very happy to see that we are able to reopen these lanes ahead of time."

"I also want to thank the patient drivers whose observation of construction safety advisories, use of IDOT's designated alternate routes, public transportation and carpools, helped workers complete reconstruction early, within budget and safely," Ryan added.

The portion of the Stevenson Expressway, which will reopen Monday, has been virtually rebuilt. A portion of the elevated highway, which ran from a quarter-mile east and west of Damen Avenue, has been removed, and the roadway has been rebuilt on solid earth and stone. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), this new roadway will be far easier and less expensive to maintain than an elevated structure.

Safety features in this portion of the Stevenson Expressway include new concrete pavement grooved to prevent hydroplaning, wider and safer shoulders, new and more consistent lighting along the roadway, and new continuous concrete barrier walls. The actual pavement structure between Canal Street and Kedzie Avenue is twice as thick-at 28 inches-than the old pavement. Much of the material in the new pavement structure was recycled from the old roadway.

The early completion of this complicated portion of the Stevenson Expressway reconstruction was accomplished by the careful planning, hard work and cooperation of the employees of IDOT, its consulting engineers and the contractors who worked on the project

For the latest information about Mission I-55, call (312) DOT-INFO or visit the Mission I-55 website at www.missioni55.com


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