The daily commute is about to change for 50,000 motorists in Illinois.
The $64 million rehab and closure of a 7-mile span of Interstate 255 is scheduled to begin Feb. 1. Construction will stretch from Illinois Route 15 at its south end, to Old Collinsville Road at its north end.
The work is being done in two segments. The north segment, between the Interstate 64 exit and Old Collinsville Road, is scheduled to be shut down Feb. 1 to mid-June, said Paul Grabowski, supervising field engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, District 8.
“At that point we’ll switch to the south leg, from Interstate 64 to Route 15,” Grabowski said. “That portion we anticipate being completed by Thanksgiving of this year.”
Shutting down traffic in both directions on the interstate makes it a little tougher for motorists, Grabowski said, but the construction timetable is much shorter and less expensive without staging it.
“If we do it this way we get it all done in one season,” he said, adding that it also makes it a safer environment for construction workers and for motorists, who aren’t navigating a confusing construction zone.
That stretch of 255 is typically traveled by at least 50,000 vehicles each day.
While the interstate is closed, the existing pavement will be overlaid with about 4 inches of asphalt.
The bridges in the 7-mile stretch will get new decks or new surfaces. The rebuilt interstate also will get new LED lighting. Many of the light standards along the stretch now are not working.
The 255 project may make commuters wonder when they will see the long-delayed reopening of the Martin Luther King Bridge into downtown St. Louis.
For now, Joel Cumby of IDOT said the target date is midsummer. Is that “official” summer or June-July-August summer?
“I have to be very careful” in talking about a date, Cumby said, adding that the agency was looking at official summer, likely in August.
“We’re aware of 255 and we understand the impact of having that bridge closed,” Cumby said. “We’re trying to take every measure we can to get the work done.”