By Steve Rensberry, Editor
One of three open houses related to major work planned on I-255 was due to take place this week in Caseyville. The meeting was set for 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, at the Caseyville Community Center, at 909 S. Main St., and is being organized by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Two other meetings are scheduled from 3-6 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the Clyde C. Jordon Center, 6755 Clyde C. Jordan Senior Center, East St. Louis; and from 4-7 p.m. on Nov. 7 at Wirth/Park Middle School, 1900 Mousette Lane, Cahokia.
According to IDOT, the work represents one of the first projects under the current Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, and will involve a complete overhaul of a badly crumbling section of the road.
“Because the road has deteriorated so badly, the rebuilding effort will require a full closure of seven miles, in two separate section, over 10 miles, allowing the project to be finished more quickly, safely and with fewer taxpayer dollars,” the notice from IDOT states.
Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman called the road one of the worst roads in the system today and referred to the repair project as a massive undertaking.
“We look forward to a day when people feel good about driving on I-255 again,” Osman said.
The section that will be closed will involve the 7-mile stretch between Collinsville Road and Illinois 15. Rehibiliation and resurfacing will be done in two sections, separated by Interstate 64, and will involve major bridge repairs, safety improvement and drainage upgrades.
“Work will start on the northern section in the first months of the year with a full closure of I-255 in both directions between I-64 and Collinsville Road for approximately five months,” IDOT said. “Once the section north of Interstate 64 is finished, construction will shift to the section between I-64 and Illinois 15, again requiring a full closure of the work zone in both directions for approximately five months. The entire project wraps up in late fall.”
Officials said the decision to close the road entirely instead of in stages mean it will be completed much quicker, in 10 months instead of four years.
“Additionally, the project will cost $64 million, or about $14 million less in taxpayer dollars than completing the work in multiple phases. Closing the interstate also reduces the safety risk to workers and motorists by eliminating live traffic moving through an active construction site,” they said.