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NEWS

March 29, 2024

Rebuilding I-80: Mainline construction begins April 1 

Next phase will have nearly 12 miles of active work zone this spring

 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding the public that as part of ongoing efforts to rebuild Interstate 80, work will begin on the mainline lanes, weather permitting, Monday, April 1, signaling an important milestone for the project. The new phase of the I-80 overhaul will rebuild and widen nearly 12 miles, as part of the overall $1.3 billion reconstruction of the interstate through Will County, a project made possible by Gov. JB Pritzker’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program.

 

“We are excited to enter the next major stage for one of the cornerstone projects of Rebuild Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “If you travel I-80, please slow down and pay extra close attention at all times. Give yourself additional time. And watch out for workers and equipment. As we continue to make huge steps forward with I-80, together we can deliver the project safely and successfully.”

 

The work zone will be established, weather permitting, over the next three weeks:

 

Week of April 1 

As weather permits, overnight lane closures will take place in both directions of I-80, between Rowell Avenue and Gougar Road, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

 

Week of April 8

Overnight lane closures will take place in both directions of I-80, between Rowell Avenue and Gougar Road, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Motorists can expect changing lane patterns and closed shoulders each morning as the work zone is established. 

Crews will also begin shifting westbound I-80 between River and Ridge roads onto the temporary pavement. To accommodate the work, overnight lane closures will take place on westbound I-80, between River and Ridge roads, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

 

Week of April 15

Eastbound I-80 will be shifted over to the westbound lanes and traffic will be separated with concrete barriers between Ridge and River roads. To accommodate the work, overnight lane closures will take place in both directions of I-80, between River and Ridge roads, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

 

Later this spring, similar closures will be necessary to extend the work zone from River Road to Wheeler Avenue, ultimately placing under construction 12 of the 16 miles of the corridor that will be redone.

 

Two lanes in each direction of I-80 will continue to remain during the project, but the public should anticipate narrowed lanes and closed shoulders throughout the entire 12-mile work zone.

 

Additional work is expected at the I-55, Larkin Avenue, Richards Street and Briggs Street interchanges. Later this year, all ramps at the Richards Street interchange are expected to close through the end of 2025. Ramps at the I-55 and Larkin Avenue interchanges will be closed at times in 2025 and 2026 as the interchanges are rebuilt and reconfigured.

 

In addition to overhead digital message boards to relay traffic conditions, several traffic management tools to monitor traffic conditions and quickly respond to incidents will be in place, including vehicles patrolling the work zone to provide quick aid to stranded motorists and to respond to incidents.

 

Expect delays and allow extra time for trips. Be prepared for slow and stopped traffic. To avoid the work area, when feasible, use of alternate routes and off-peak trips should be considered. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to changed conditions and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits, refrain from using mobile devices and be alert for workers and equipment.

 

Altogether, $400 million worth of projects will be underway just on the I-80 mainline lanes and interchanges this spring. Prior to this year, the I-80 efforts have focused on replacing several bridges, including those that carry the interstate just east of the Des Plaines River as well as Wheeler Avenue and Shepley Road over the interstate, completed in December, along with Briggs Street and River Road currently under construction and anticipated to be completed later this fall. Additionally, the Houbolt Road interchange was redone in a diverging-diamond style to open access to North America’s largest inland port.

 

Once this phase of the project concludes in 2025 and 2026, the final stage, anticipated to start in 2026, includes reconstruction of the Center Street and Chicago Street interchanges, and replacement of the I-80 bridges over the Des Plaines River. The overall project is anticipated to be substantially complete by the end of 2028, with landscaping, bridge demolition and miscellaneous work extending into 2029.

 

The I-80 project is redesigning and rebuilding 16 miles from Ridge Road in Minooka to U.S. 30 in Joliet and New Lenox, improving travel times and reducing congestion. Interchanges will be rebuilt or improved at Interstate 55, Illinois 7, Center Street, Chicago Street, Richards Street and Briggs Street, with a new flyover ramp linking southbound I-55 to eastbound I-80 to improve traffic flow and safety. More than 30 bridges will be rehabilitated or replaced.

 

When completed, the project will improve safety and relieve congestion in a booming logistics and freight corridor that accommodates more than 80,000 vehicles per day, 25% of which are trucks, as well as create future economic opportunity and job growth.

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