Traveling on I-64? Look for delays over next two months

News-DemocratAugust 29, 2013 

Commuters who travel along Interstate 64 through Fairview Heights are expected to face delays over the next two months.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Thursday that lane restrictions will be in effect in both directions starting Sept. 5. Lane closures are needed to allow workers to paint the bridge which carries Illinois 159 over the interstate. Painting is expected to be done by Oct. 31.

A couple of years ago new beams were added to the bridge when it was widened, and, those beams were already painted when they were added. The rest of the bridge was not painted at the time, said IDOT spokesman John Scheibal.

"We want to preserve the remaining beams and, I think they want to get it all painted so they can get it into the painting cycle," he added.

Bridges are painted, on average, every 10 to 15 years, depending on the condition of the bridge and the availability of funds.

The cost for the work on the Illinois 159 bridge is $538,000.

"In an urban area, with a lot of interstate traffic, we have to include the cost for traffic control," Scheibal said.

During the work:

* All westbound lanes will be open during peak hours of 6 to 9 a.m.

* All eastbound lanes will be open during peak hours of 3 to 6 p.m.

* One lane may be closed in each direction during non-peak daytime hours.

* Two lanes may be closed in each direction from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning.

"We work around rush hour traffic," Scheibal said "We know traffic is heaving in the westbound lanes in the morning and in the eastbound lanes in evening, so, we definitely make sure our lanes are open for those. During the day we allow them to close more lanes and they can close up to two lanes at night."

Normal delays are expected. Motorists are encouraged to find alternate routes during the bridge painting. The department asks that motorists be patient, reduce speed, obey all warning signs, and use additional caution when traveling near and throughout this work zone.

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