Final stage of Interstate 70 project in Effingham County begins April 9

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) says that the reconstruction of westbound Interstate 70 from just east of the I-57/70 interchange to just east of the Cumberland/Effingham County line, east of Montrose, will begin, weather permitting, Tuesday, April 9. The project will include several new safety features this year and a start date timed to not interfere with the April 8 solar eclipse that is anticipated to bring large crowds to the southern part of the state.

“We are excited to get one step closer to delivering this vital project to an important part of the state. These improvements will help the flow of goods and services throughout the area and provide a safer road for everyone who relies on I-70,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Partnering with local officials, we have added several safety measures this year that should drive down the number of crashes in the work zone, but we need your help and cooperation.

“Working together, we look forward to bringing this project to a safe, successful conclusion.”

Tree trimming has been taking place in recent weeks and starting April 9 traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction on the eastbound lanes rebuilt last year, separated by the barrier walls, while the westbound lanes are reconstructed.

The work zone will include several new safety features:

  • extra dynamic message signs posted in advance of the northbound and eastbound I-57/70 split
  • temporary rumble strips will be installed prior to the work zone and through it
  • Illinois State Police will have an enhanced presence throughout this construction season, checking for distracted driving, speeding and other traffic offenses

In recent weeks, IDOT has met with local police and fire departments in Effingham County to advise them on other safety elements added at their request, including pull-off locations in the work zone to respond to vehicle breakdowns or crashes. The group also discussed the most efficient method to access the work zone when crashes or other emergencies occur as well as other logistical details aimed at keeping the public safe.

The overall $50 million improvement on I-70 includes the reconstruction of 7 miles in both directions, including the replacement of the eastbound and westbound bridges over the Montrose Blacktop.

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