Thousands of commuters will face restricted lanes and detours on Illinois 13 and Illinois 15 after the morning rush hour on Monday.
All traffic will be closed where Illinois 13 passes underneath Illinois 15 in Belleville due to the demolition and replacement of the overhead bridge, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. The $14.5 million project is expected to be completed by the winter of 2014.
More than 16,600 vehicles travel the route each day. Those traveling eastbound will be detoured to Highway 159, and westbound travelers will be detoured to Greenmount Road.
Commuters traveling on Illinois 15 will face lane restrictions as the route's four lanes will be reduced to two lanes, according to the project's supervising field engineer Tom Borsch. Commuters on both roads are urged to find alternative routes or give themselves more time to travel.
Borsch said state workers will be monitoring traffic. "If the closing creates big problems we will work around it," he said.
"I don't expect it to be that bad," Borsch said. "We don't anticipate stopping or the need for flaggers (permanently). It tends to be a mess when first set up, but people begin using alternate routes and it gets better as it goes along."
Eckert's Orchards, a popular destination for picking fruit, is located just southeast of the road restrictions. The site also has a restaurant, store and holds family-friendly activities.
Eckert's President Chris Eckert said 60 percent of their business comes from Missouri residents who will be traveling through the roadwork on Illinois 15 and Illinois 13. He said he was optimistic the work would not discourage customers from visiting the site.
"Most of our traffic is heavy on the weekends, so I think outside of the rush hour timeframes I doubt there are going to be too many traffic jams as a result of the construction going on," Eckert said. "I don't believe this is something that is going to restrict business for us, but it is a little bit of a confusion."
Eckert added he understood the need for the construction.
"Obviously, nobody looks forward to having road construction, but the bridges they are working on are definitely in dire need of repair," Eckert said, noting customers traveling from Columbia or Millstadt also face a "bit of a mess" with the construction of two roundabouts on Illinois 158.
Prep work began on the project Tuesday, Borsch said.
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at email@example.com or 618-239-2501.