Metro-East News

September 4, 2014

Mine subsidence forces closure of Illinois 15 in Belleville

More issues with mine subsidence have forced the closure of the westbound lanes on Illinois 15 near Illinois 158.

"Because we had more settlement occur, the repair we did (Aug. 5) worked for a while but we're continuing to have subsidence," said Jeff Church, project engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Drivers had to find alternate routes Thursday between Illinois 159 and Illinois 158 in Belleville.

IDOT expected to reopen one lane of the section by 6 a.m. Friday.

The same section of road was closed last week due to mine subsidence. The traffic obstruction is about the same size and in the same place, Church said.

Chruch said IDOT was doing a temporary fix so that the passing lane could be reopened in time for Friday morning rush-hour. The right-hand lane will remain closed.

IDOT planned to pour grout -- a concrete-like substance but with more sand and no rock -- into the space until a more permanent repair made.

That permanent fix will have to come from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which will be designing the repair as well as drawing up a contract. IDNR will be responsible for hiring and supervising any contractors for the repair.

"That will hopefully be happening early next week, if all goes well," Church said.

IDNR, not IDOT, will pay for mine subsidence repair, and the repair does not change the ongoing resurfacing or work along that stretch of Illinois 15, Chruch said.

The $10 million resurfacing project is nearly complete, with work remaining on shoulders and ramps.

Last week, IDNR's Bruce Schottel said mine subsidence issues are "pretty common" in the area, but "no necessarily under highways."

Schottel wrote in an email Thursday that "neighboring areas are not at any additional risk becasue of the work we do on this problem."

IDNR representatives were not available Thursday for further comment.

Contact reporter Mary Cooley at 618-239-2535 or email to mcooley@bnd.com.

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