Interstate project mostly done for season

Chris Kaergard GateHouse Media Illinois

MORTON — For many motorists negotiating the interchange of Interstates 74 and 155, the biggest disruption of the multi-year construction project ended Saturday.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced last week that ramps from northbound I-155 onto westbound I-74 and from westbound I-74 onto southbound I-155 reopened Saturday after being closed throughout the construction season.

That brings an end to a series of detours that brought traffic onto Morton Avenue or Pinecrest Drive to effectively allow motorists to turn around to re-enter the expressway to travel in their intended direction.

“People have been looking forward to it, there’s no doubt,” IDOT District 4 spokesman Brian Williamsen said Friday.

Work will wrap up for the season soon, he said. But it isn’t entirely done yet, and work zone speed limits will be in effect throughout the winter.

When construction resumes in the spring, however, the focus will shift to the Morton Avenue interchange and the nearby stretch of eastbound I-74. If that work proceeds according to plan, the project should wrap up in 2016.

The work, which has been ongoing since the spring of 2013, is part of an $86.5 million project to update and improve access between I-74 and I-155. Jackson and Jefferson streets in Morton have seen significant transformation, including the replacement of tunnels that carried traffic on Jefferson Street beneath the interstate, in favor of bridges.