Metro-East News

IDOT to replace Illinois 157 bridge over Illinois 161

The work will begin in early January and extend into next fall.
The work will begin in early January and extend into next fall. BND illustration

The Illinois Department of Transportation is scheduled on Jan. 6 to begin the replacement of a bridge carrying Illinois 157 over Illinois 161.

The $9.3 million project, which will require closing the bridge, is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016, weather permitting.

Workers plan to remove and replace the four-lane bridge that was built in 1963 and is deteriorating, said Joe Gassaway, supervising field engineer for IDOT.

“It’s served its life,” Gassaway said.

He added the new bridge also will be four lanes.

The bridge sees about 10,700 vehicles a day, and the capacity is expected to stay the same.

Motorists will be directed to use Illinois 15 and Interstate 64 around the closed bridge. Illinois 157 however will be open to local traffic and motorists going south on the state route will be able to use the ramps to St. Clair Avenue, Gassaway said.

Workers also plan to demolish an adjacent pedestrian bridge that was built in the 1920s, Gassaway said. He added the pedestrian bridge will not be replaced.

Gassaway said the project has been planned for about five years.

The bridge, which also goes over the MetroLink line and Schoenberger Creek, will be demolished in three phases.

The phase over the MetroLink is planned to be limited to late at night and during the weekends in order to limit the disruption to the commuter service.

Gassaway said a protective shield is planned to be put in place to guard traffic, trees and the creek.