Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that the Interstate 255 rehabilitation will be completed by Nov. 1, almost a month ahead of schedule. The I-255 project, one of the first to be completed under the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program, fixed one of the worst roads in the state quicker, safer and cheaper by closing the work zone to all traffic for nine months instead of spreading work out over multiple construction seasons.
“It’s investments like the rehabilitation of I-255, which sees about 55,000 vehicles a day, that will extend our state’s leadership as a multi-modal transportation hub, improving local bridges and keeping our roadways safe and smooth,” said Pritzker, who visited the area for the announcement. “This highway saw $67 million worth of drainage upgrades, bridge repairs, and resurfacing. Best of all, we got this project done in record time – months instead of years – saving money and protecting drivers and workers alike by strategically closing the road for work.”
The repairs were completed in one construction season instead of the four years that would have been needed if construction was staged, reducing the estimated project cost by $14 million to a total of $67 million. The safety risk to workers and motorists was eliminated by removing traffic from the work zone. A project webpage with maps and fact sheets can be viewed by visiting idot.illinois.gov.
The overall project rehabilitated and resurfaced approximately 7 miles of I-255 from Collinsville Road to Illinois 15 in two sections separated by Interstate 64. The north section between I-64 and Collinsville Road was closed in February and reopened in July. The south section between Illinois 15 and I-64 is due to open late next week, weather permitting.
“By closing I-255, we were able to deliver this much-needed project and minimize the impact to motorists and local businesses,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We applaud the public for their cooperation. Thanks to Gov. Pritzker’s leadership and Rebuild Illinois, we look forward to completing many more projects that improve safety, mobility and quality of life in Metro East and throughout the state.”
Prior to the passage of Rebuild Illinois, I-255 was notorious for its poor conditions due to a lack of investment by previous administrations, with much of the pavement dating back to when the interstate was built in the 1980s. Motorists experienced ongoing emergency repairs that were frequent because of multiple pavement failures and large potholes.
“I want to applaud Gov. Pritzker for his continued commitment to ensuring Illinois’ roads and bridges get the funding they need after years of disinvestment,” said Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman, D-Belleville. “This I-255 project is just one example of the tremendous infrastructure work that will be completed in the coming years thanks to the historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan.”
“Highways and road systems are among the most critical components of Illinois’ infrastructure. As a nationwide hub of transportation, that infrastructure is also crucial to our state’s economy,” said State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville). “The disinvestment of I-255 was a burden for the people I represent. I’m thrilled to see this long-awaited project so near to completion, and I want to thank Gov. Pritzker and IDOT for making the drivers of the Metro East a top priority.”
“To support local jobs and investment in our community, we have to continuously focus on infrastructure projects and ensure that our roads are in good shape,” said state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis. “I’m particularly excited that this project will be completed ahead of schedule and under budget, which is a boost for commuters who will not have to be burdened with construction delays in the coming months and years.”
“Governor Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan is making long overdue improvements to the infrastructure in Collinsville, while providing good jobs for Illinois workers,” said St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern. “Thanks to the hard work of IDOT, residents and visitors to St. Clair now have safer roads to travel on when going about their day to day lives.”
Gov. Pritzker also announced today that preliminary work is starting on the Delhi Bypass in Jersey County. The $18.6 million project, also made possible by Rebuild Illinois, will build a new road, expanding U.S. 67 from two lanes to four lanes, beginning in Godfrey and progressing north 2.4 miles around Delhi. The Delhi Bypass, part of a larger vision to eventually expand and extend U.S. 67 north in multiple phases, is expected to be complete in late 2022.
Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
Just in Metro East alone, multiple IDOT projects are underway or starting in 2021, highlighting a commitment to improve safety, reduce congestion and encourage economic growth throughout the region. The projects represent a total investment of more than $161.5 million.