I-255 closure starts this weekend, plan accordingly

The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police want to remind the public that the first phase of repairs to a crumbling section of Interstate 255 will begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. The project, one of the first under Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program, will require a full closure of I-255 in both directions between Interstate 64 and Interstate 55/70 for approximately five months.

“While we are eager to start working on I-255, we need the public’s help to truly make this project a success,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “If you rely on I-255 or regularly drive in the nearby area, start thinking about other routes. Expect longer travel times, especially the first few days. Working together, we will build a new-and-improved I-255 that makes travel safer and more reliable for many years to come.”

While Interstates 55/70 and 64 will be the marked detour, depending on direction of travel, the following alternate routes are recommended: Illinois 3, Illinois 15, Illinois 157, Illinois 158, Illinois 159 and Illinois 161. Public transportation and traveling during off-peak hours are encouraged as well.

Closing I-255 completely means the project can be done quicker, cheaper and safer.

By removing traffic from I-255, the necessary repairs can be completed in one construction season instead of the four years it would take if construction was staged. Additionally, the project will cost $64 million, or about $14 million less than completing the work in multiple phases. The safety risk to workers and motorists is eliminated by removing live traffic from an active construction site. 

A project webpage with maps and fact sheets can be viewed by visiting idot.illinois.gov.

The overall project consists of rehabilitating and resurfacing approximately 7 miles of I-255 from Collinsville Road to Illinois 15 in two sections separated by I-64, with significant bridge repairs, safety improvements and drainage upgrades. Once the section north of I-64 is finished this summer, 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 is expected to conclude in late November.

Due to lack of investment, I-255 is notorious for being one of the worst roads in the state. Most of the pavement dates back to when the interstate was built in the 1980s. Emergency repairs that inconvenience motorists are frequent because of multiple pavement failures and large potholes.