Starting next March, big changes are coming for Interstates 74 and 155.
Until the summer of 2015, both intersections will have construction done to replace the pavement, alter the ramps and more.
“It’s a major project so it’s going to have some impacts on the people traveling in the area,” Illinois Department of Transportation Deputy Director of Highways Joseph Crowe said. “People need to know that, by next spring, we expect to see construction going on out there and people need to plan for it.”
Bids are being placed for the project, being done by the IDOT, starting Nov. 9. The construction crew should be chosen by December so that materials can start being ordered and machinery can be prepared. Crowe said some small work could be done this winter if another mild winter is in store, but major work will start next March or April.
“Our estimate on the project is about $85 million, which means it’s one of the largest projects that we’ve had outside of the I-74 project in downtown Peoria and East Peoria,” Crowe said. “It’s being done because we want to make the road safer and we have pavement and bridges out there that are at the end of their service life. It’s time for us to replace those. So, we put all of this into a major project and we’ll be able to really help the traffic through here by making it safer. We won’t have the accidents that we’ve had in the past.
One of the biggest changes coming from the project is the redesign of the I-74/155 crossover. Currently, I-74 goes over the top of 155. After the construction, I-74 will become an underpass over 155.
“If you come off of Morton Avenue, you’re coming down and then you’re coming up (on 74),” Crowe said. “When you’re in a car that’s not so bad, but when you’re in a semi and coming up high and get past the abandoned railroad bridge and drop down pretty quick and then you have to make that loop if you take the 155 ramp. We’ve had some accidents along here that we want to take care of so we’re going to lower the roadway through here and bring 155 ramps over top of it.”
Another change comes in the amount of lanes on I-74.
“Currently, there’s two (lanes) in each direction. When we’re done, there will be three,” project engineer Chris Maushard said.
Also being added to I-74 are concrete dividers similar to what the interstate has going through Peoria, which will help with safety as well.
Lights will also be added along the interstates.
The onramps from I-74 to Morton Avenue will also be straightened out and traffic signals will be added at each ramp exit to help the flow of traffic. The look going from Peoria to Bloomington at Morton Avenue is also being eliminated.
During the construction, I-74 will always have two lanes of traffic going in each direction while I-155 will be reduced to one lane. Four traffic detours will be needed as well, with two happening in 2013 and two in 2014.
In 2013, construction will start on I-74, the Morton Avenue ramps and I-155. During this time, a traffic detour will be set up on Jefferson Street and I-155.
2014 will mark the start of the I-155 bridges over 74, detouring the traffic to a temporary pavement. The I-155 northbound traffic will be detoured to Morton Avenue while southbound traffic will be detoured to Pinecrest Drive.
2015 will not feature any detours.
“2015 will be just cleaning up the remainder of 74 and 155 spot locations,” Maushard said.
IDOT will be updating the village board on the construction processes during the Nov. 19 village board meeting.