Interstate 80 Project Includes Overnight Lane Closures
By Bob Okon
The Herald News
Construction crews on Monday will begin getting Interstate 80 ready for the $1.2 billion project that includes replacing the Des Plaines River bridge.
The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Thursday that bridge deck patching and repairs to I-80 between Chicago and Briggs streets in Joliet will require overnight lane closures, followed by multiple weekend lane and ramp closures.
The work begins Monday, weather permitting, and will be done in several stages “to minimize the impact to traffic,” IDOT said in a news release.
Work next week will be done on three consecutive nights starting at 10 p.m. Monday. It includes installation of a temporary concrete barrier wall and rumble strips. Lane and shoulder closures will be required on both sides of I-80 from Chicago to Briggs streets.
Daytime traffic will not be impacted, IDOT said.
Shoulder closures will continue for about four to six weeks to accommodate temporary pavement construction as part of advance work to replace the eastbound I-80 bridges over Hickory Creek, Richards Street and Rowell Avenue/Canadian National Railroad, as well as the westbound bridge over Richards Street.
From 10 p.m. April 9 to 5 a.m. April 12, eastbound I-80, from east of Larkin Avenue to Briggs Street will be reduced to one lane. In addition, the entrance ramp from Chicago Street to eastbound I-80 will be closed with a detour directing traffic traveling east to use Richards Street to access I-80.
The same closures and hours will be in effect, weather permitting, the weekend of April 16 and, if needed, the weekend of April 23.
The weekend closures are necessary to make pavement repairs so the interstate can accommodate both directions of traffic when work on replacing the eastbound I-80 bridges begins later this spring.
The entire project includes reconstructing 16 miles of I-80 from Ridge Road in Minooka to U.S. 30 in New Lenox. Auxiliary lanes will be added.
Interchanges will be improved at Interstate 55, Larkin Avenue and Center, Chicago, Richards and Briggs streets.
The push to improve Interstate 80 got a boost Friday when Gov. J.B. Pritzker proposed a state capital plan that includes $1 billion for Interstate 80.
A proposal shown to lawmakers includes major new spending on roads, transit, schools and more, but would require a doubling of the gas tax and new levies on items like vehicle registration, liquor, cable TV and ride-hailing.
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State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, has introduced legislation aimed at converting the local stretch of Interstate 80 into a tollway.
A coalition created to push for improvements to Interstate 80 will point to $623 billion of freight coming through Will County a year, making a case the local corridor has national importance.
A new grass-roots effort, known as the I-80 Coalition, has been launched by the Will County Center for Economic Development to hasten needed improvements to I-80.
A new I-80 Coalition is being formed to speed up long-term plans to improve the interstate.
The chairman of the state tollway board laid out a case to the Joliet City Council on Monday for turning the local stretch of Interstate 80 into a toll road.