Metro-East News

Crews open lanes, expect Illinois 15 project to be done soon

Illinois 15 bridge construction work was over budget

Work crews have opened more lanes along Illinois 15 near the construction of a new bridge over Illinois 13 and Illinois Central Railroad tracks. The work has been delayed for years, but officials say they hope the project will be completed by Sept
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Work crews have opened more lanes along Illinois 15 near the construction of a new bridge over Illinois 13 and Illinois Central Railroad tracks. The work has been delayed for years, but officials say they hope the project will be completed by Sept

An off-ramp and two lanes were reopened last week near the Illinois 15 project over Illinois 13, and IDOT officials say it won’t be much longer before the project is completed.

“We are anticipating all work will be wrapped up by Sept. 1,” IDOT spokeswoman Kelsea Gurski said of the project, which is southeast of downtown Belleville and west of Eckert’s.

Gurski said two westbound lanes are now open on Illinois 15. However, only one Illinois 15 eastbound lane will be open while crews remove and replace the existing eastbound passing lane shoulder.

Lane restrictions have been in place since 2013, when IDOT began demolishing the eastbound bridge over Illinois 13 and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks. Until this week, those restrictions had remained a point of frustration for many motorists.

Construction of the replacement bridge began in April 2015.

Work continues on the westbound Illinois 15 bridge near the Charles Street exit to Belleville. Both eastbound and westbound lanes of 15 are down to one lane in each direction as traffic shares the newly-completed eastbound bridge.

Glen Carbon-based Keller Construction was awarded the project by the Illinois Department of Transportation in January 2012 for $14.4 million. Even so, construction began three years later than scheduled and ran a budget at least $6 million over budget — bringing the final total to around $20.5 million.

The delays were caused by a redesign of the bridge to make sure there was enough clearance over the Illinois Central Railroad.

The state is incurring the higher cost after design flaws led to project delays during the work. Design work before the construction of the new bridges was awarded to STV Inc. IDOT agreed to pay the engineering firm more than $667,000 for the design work.

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