Pictured above: This screenshot from a drone video taken by YouTube user Stl Silver Fox shows the JB Bridge from above. The JB Bridge will not be directly affected by next year’s interstate closures.
Part of Interstate 255 in Illinois will be completely closed for 10 months next year under a $64 million Illinois plan to completely overhaul seven miles of the crumbling interstate.
The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that one of its first projects under the Rebuild Illinois capital plan will be a complete replacement of a seven-mile stretch of Interstate 255 early in 2020. Because the road has deteriorated so badly, the rebuilding effort will require a full closure of seven miles, in two separate sections, over 10 months, “allowing the project to be finished more quickly, safely and with fewer taxpayer dollars,” the agency said.
The interstate will be closed from Interstate 64 to Collinsville Road in both directions for the first five months or so, and then it will be closed from Interstate 64 to Route 15 in Belleville for the next five months.
The Jefferson Barracks Bridge will not be affected by the closures.
“As Metro East drivers know too well, I-255 was neglected for far too long — and repairing it is a massive undertaking that IDOT will complete as quickly and safely as possible for those who rely on this roadway,” said acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman in a news release. “As one of the first projects of the historic bipartisan ‘Rebuild Illinois’ effort, this is also one of the worst roads in the system today. We’ll be holding public meetings to keep residents informed of the plan and our progress. We look forward to a day when people feel good about driving on I-255 again.”
By closing I-255, the project will be completed in 10 months instead of the four years that would be necessary if construction was staged. Additionally, the project will cost $64 million, or about $14 million less in taxpayer dollars than completing the work in multiple phases.
Closing the interstate also reduces the safety risk to workers and motorists by eliminating live traffic moving through an active construction site, IDOT said.
The project consists of rehabilitating and resurfacing approximately seven miles of I-255 from Collinsville Road to Illinois 15 in two sections separated by Interstate 64, with significant bridge repairs, safety improvements and drainage upgrades. Work will start on the northern section in the first months of the year with a full closure of I-255 in both directions between I-64 and Collinsville Road for approximately five months.
Once the section north of Interstate 64 is finished, construction will shift to the section between I-64 and Illinois 15, again requiring a full closure of the work zone in both directions for approximately five months. The entire project wraps up in late fall.
To inform the public about the project and potential alternative routes during construction, IDOT hosted two public meetings so far and will host an upcoming meeting next week:
• Nov. 7, Wirth/Parks Middle School, 1900 Mousette Lane, Cahokia, 4 to 7 p.m.