Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois: Engineering and Architecture
Rhutasel and Associates, Inc., Venita Drive Intersection and Overpass, O’Fallon
By KATE GENO
Improvements to the Venita Drive/Highway 50 intersection and the construction of the new overpass on Venita Drive in O’Fallon, Ill., are underway with a completion date set for August 2015.
The City of O’Fallon employed the engineering firm Rhutasel and Associates to prepare the preliminary and final plans, specifications and estimates for the improvement of a signalized intersection and the construction of a new railroad crossing. The project includes new storm sewer pipe and inlets, new concrete integral curb and gutter, asphalt paving, driveway repair, steel girder bridge, approach embankment, concrete sidewalk and traffic signal modification.
“Venita Drive serves as a main thoroughfare to homes, schools, parks and businesses in the area. Improvements to the signalized intersection and increase in lanes will solve major congestion problems and allow a better flow of traffic,” says Mark Rujawitz, senior project engineer at Rhutasel.
The new overpass over the CSXT railroad will perform important functions. It will relieve drivers of the long waits for trains to pass through the current crossing and provide a safer alternative. It will give the city’s new fire station unabated accessibility to the west side of the city. It will also allow people to walk to the O’Fallon Sports Park from Highway 50.
The overpass structure requires a 23-foot clearance above the railroad tracks and totals 200 feet in length. There will be a sidewalk with an ornamental railing and a textured retaining wall along the east side of the existing road.
Due to the embankment cones, Taylor Road will be relocated 750 feet to the north and will provide direct access to the new fire station. The former road will be used as a maintenance road for O’Fallon Sports Park vehicles.
Rhutasel and Associates has been working on this project for six years. Its engineering team has been coordinating with Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Commerce Commission and utility companies to bring the plans to life. Coordination with the nearby Sleep Inn and IHOP was also necessary to stage the construction.
The general contractor, The Kilian Corporation of Mascoutah, began construction on May 1. According to Rujawitz, the relocation work on Taylor Road is nearly complete. The roadway will be realigned 100 feet to the west for business access on Venita Drive. Two box culverts over Venita Drive and Taylor Road have been built. The embankment is now in place on the north side of the railroad for the bridge construction.