The Illinois Department of Transportation will completely close a seven-mile stretch of Interstate 255 early next year.
The major rehabilitation project spans Illinois 15 to Collinsville Road and includes resurfacing, significant bridge repairs and other safety improvements.
The construction area will be split into two halves divided by Interstate 64, IDOT District Eight Studies and Plans Engineer Tiffany Brase said. Next year, I-255 from Collinsville Road to I-64 will close first, with the southern portion from I-64 to Route 15 closing once the first section is complete.
“We’re saying approximately five months for each half,” she said. “A lot of that will depend on who the contractor is and the needs and methods he goes about to complete the work.”
Most highways remain partially open during construction, but that would have extended the construction time and costs, Brase said.
“Had we done this by typical stage construction, the project could have lasted anywhere from three to four years,” she said. “We are saving about $14 million overall by doing this as a full closure.”
Fully closing the highway also ensures greater safety for workers and a better overall product, Brase added.
IDOT suggests commuters use Illinois 3, 15, 157, 159 and 161 as alternates.
I-255 handles on average of 57,000 cars a day during its heaviest usage, Brase said. The department expects alternate routes in the region will see traffic increases of between 25% and 50%.
But some nearby residents have not yet started to consider those routes or how the closure may impact them.
“I really haven’t thought about it that much,” Belleville resident Calvin Lucas, 65, said. “It’ll be pretty inconvenient for awhile, but I guess we’ll have to deal with it.”
IDOT wants commuters who will be impacted by the closure aware of the project.
“With this project being constructed under two seperate total closures, we felt it was best to start getting the word out early to the public to let them know this was coming,” Brase said. The department doesn’t want people to be caught off guard by a closure in February.
The department already hosted one public meeting Oct. 16. Brase said residents at that meeting were excited to see the major rehab project move forward.
The next meeting is 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Clyde C. Jordan Center in East St. Louis. The department will host a final meeting at Wirth/Parks Middle School in Cahokia on Thursday, Nov. 7.
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