MARKHAM – September 20, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Secretary Gary Hannig to announce the start of the $28 million reconstruction of the Interstate 57 overpass at Interstate 294 – a critical first step towards building a full interchange at the site. The new overpass will reduce travel times, boost economic development, and create and retain more than 350 jobs.
Replacing the overpass is a necessary step that must be taken before building the interchange between I-57 and I-294, one of the few locations in the country where two interstate highways meet without connecting. Once completed, the $600 million interchange will greatly reduce travel times and help preserve local roads by rerouting truck traffic onto the interstate system. It will also create an estimated 6,000 permanent and indirect jobs, along with more than 7,500 construction jobs.
“Hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks use those two highways every day. The safety of this overpass is extremely important to the entire Chicago area and anyone traveling these roads,” said Governor Quinn. “I am committed to making sure work begins on this overpass as soon as possible, because it will make these roads safer, create good construction jobs and will cultivate long-term economic growth across the entire region.”
Plans for constructing the full interchange are awaiting federal approval, but Governor Quinn is committing Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds to get the overpass reconstruction underway now. The overpass project calls for removing and replacing I-57 northbound and southbound over I-294. Approaching the overpass, I-57 will be widened to accommodate the traffic movements of the future interchange. Preliminary work starts this fall with construction on the overpass beginning in the spring and ending in 2013. The contractor was selected on Friday.
The interchange will be built with a mix of state and federal dollars. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority have committed approximately $50 million each. Pending approval from the Federal Highway Administration, the state will build the interchange in phases over a number of years. To construct the interchange’s eight movements, a total of 11 contracts will be awarded.
“We are extremely proud to see this project moving forward,” said Secretary Hannig. “This project will help stimulate the local economy, improve safety in the area and create jobs.”
IDOT is currently leading Illinois’ largest road construction program in state history through Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. From 2009 through the end of this year the state will have invested approximately $8 billion to repair or rebuild 4,800 miles of roads and 566 bridges. These projects are creating an estimated 155,000 short-term and permanent jobs.