Bridge beam delivery continues for new Southbound Mile Long Bridge on Central Tri-State Tollway project
Beam deliveries escorted by State Police will impact travel on I-90, I-294
Transport and delivery of bridge beams are scheduled to continue in November for the Illinois Tollway’s new southbound Mile Long Bridge on the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294). Delivery of new concrete and steel beams for the $500 million Mile Long Bridge Project is anticipated to continue through early 2022.
During the month of November, 48 concrete beams from a Wisconsin manufacturing plant and 22 steel beam segments from a Kentucky manufacturing plant are expected to be delivered to the Mile Long Bridge construction site.
Transport trucks with the concrete beams will be escorted by Illinois State Police and will be traveling at a low rate of speed typically between hours of 4 a.m. and noon on weekdays, however some concrete beam transport may be scheduled during overnight hours to accommodate Burlington National Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) schedules. The steel beams will not require a State Police escort and the times of deliveries will vary.
All deliveries are weather dependent and schedules will be available on Daily Construction Alerts posted on the Tollway’s website.
Concrete beams weighing approximately 115 tons and measuring up to 7.5 feet tall and up to 187 feet long will be transported from Wisconsin traveling eastbound on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) to southbound I-294 to the construction site. The trucks with the beams will be parked along the southbound Mile Long Bridge and concrete beams will be installed over the BNSF Railway, the Midwest Cargo facility, Santa Fe Drive, and the 75th Street ramps.
Steel segments, measuring up to 10 feet tall and up to 134 feet long, will be transported from Kentucky through Indiana and then travel northbound on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294/I-80) to the work zone. After delivery to the construction site, the steel beam segments will be combined to make up 52 beams to be installed over the Canadian National Railroad, the Cook County Forest Preserve District property, and the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.
As part of the $4 billion Central Tri-State Tollway Project, the Illinois Tollway is reconstructing the Mile Long Bridge that carries up to 150,000 vehicles daily over two major railroads, the Des Plaines River, the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal and the Illinois & Michigan Canal and local roads, and over several major distribution centers. Construction of the new northbound structure was completed in 2020 and construction of the new southbound structure is scheduled to be complete in 2022.
A $184.6 million contract to build the new northbound bridge structure began in summer 2019 and was completed in November 2020. Work began on a second $182.6 million contract in 2020 to remove the old northbound structure and deliver the new southbound Mile Long Bridge to drivers by the end of 2022. The entire Mile Long Bridge Project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023.
The Mile Long Bridge Project includes building two, new side-by-side 4,800-foot-long bridge structures designed to last 100 years and increasing capacity to five lanes in each direction. The original bridge structures were built in 1958.
Both of the new bridges feature 27 spans supported by 26 piers, compared to the previous structures with 53 piers, reducing the impact on waterways, roadway and rail operations below. In addition, the bridges’ inside shoulders in both directions will be built to serve as Flex Lanes for transit, for emergency vehicles and as an alternate lane when warranted.
The Illinois Tollway is coordinating work on the Mile Long Bridge Project with the Village of Hodgkins, Village of Countryside, Village of Willow Springs, Village of Justice, Cook County, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Coast Guard, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), IDNR Office of Water Resources and the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission, as well as numerous businesses located near the Mile Long Bridge.
Construction information about the Mile Long Bridge Project and the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project is available in the “Projects Section on the Tollway’s website at illinoistollway.com.
Work Zone Safety
Construction zone speed limits are in effect in all construction zones 24/7 and drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution, especially when workers are present. On I-294, a 45 mph work zone speed limit is in effect throughout the construction season.
The Illinois Tollway reminds motorists that the “Move Over Law” requires motorists to change lanes or to slow down and proceed with caution when passing any vehicle on the side of the road with hazard lights activated. If you see flashing lights ahead, please move over or slow down.
Illinois State Police have zero tolerance for drivers speeding in work zones or failure to comply with the Move Over Law. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $250 with up to a $25,000 fine and a 14-year jail sentence for hitting a roadway worker. Penalties for failure to slow down or move over for a vehicle on the shoulder with flashing lights includes up to a $10,000 fine, 2-year suspension of driving privileges and jail time, in extreme cases.
About Move Illinois
The Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, is improving mobility, relieving congestion, reducing pollution, creating as many as 120,000 jobs and linking economies throughout the region. The first nine years of Move Illinois is on schedule and within budget, delivering the rebuilt and widened Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) as a state-of-the-art 21st century corridor and opening a new interchange connecting the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to I-57. Progress continues on projects addressing the remaining needs of the existing Tollway system, delivering the Elgin O’Hare Western Access Project and reconstruction of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294).
About the Illinois Tollway
The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 294 miles of roadways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90), the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80) and the Illinois Route 390 Tollway.
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