Construction on the I-294/I-90 Tri-Level Bridge Project is scheduled to resume March 18. This year’s work will require a full closure through early July of the ramp bridge carrying northbound Tri-State Tollway (I-294) traffic to the westbound Jane Addams Memorial Tollway

(I-90) and full closure of the eastbound I-190 ramp from O’Hare International Airport to westbound I-90. Electronic message signs and directional signs will be put in place to alert drivers to the closures and detour.

The Tri-Level Bridge Project will extend the life of the complicated interchange that connects I-294 to I-90 and provide safe and convenient travel for Tollway customers. The project began in 2011 with the reconstruction of the ramp carrying southbound I-294 to eastbound I-90. In 2012, the Tollway will complete the project with the reconstruction of the ramp bridge carrying northbound I-294 traffic to westbound I-90. The $13 million project will be complete by the end of 2012.

The Tollway’s construction plan will enable the agency to complete the work more efficiently, with the full closure allowing the Tollway to complete work in four months rather than the seven months required if one lane remained open to traffic during construction.  In addition, without having to maintain a lane for traffic during construction, the Tollway will be able to complete the bridge rehabilitation work using a “single-pour” method and will avoid a joint running down the middle of the bridge, making the bridge stronger and more resistant to traffic vibration and requiring less maintenance on the bridge in the long run.

Westbound I-90 Detour Scheduled

The ramp from eastbound I-190 to westbound I-90 is scheduled to close in the early morning hours of March 18.  The ramp from northbound I-294 to westbound I-90 is scheduled to close in the early morning hours of March 19. The detour route is expected to be in place through early July directing traffic to travel north to Touhy Avenue west, to River Road and then immediately re-enter I-294 southbound to reach the exit ramp to westbound I-90.

Although the detour route will take drivers north through the Touhy Toll Plaza on I-294, before sending them through the Devon Toll Plaza as they get back on their route on I-90, customers will not be charged twice.  The Illinois Tollway has programmed its toll collection system to ensure that only the 75 cent toll at the Devon Toll Plaza will be posted to I-PASS accounts. In addition, the Tollway is providing a designated I-90 detour lane at the Touhy Toll Plaza on I-294 so that cash-paying customers can obtain a receipt to present at the Devon Toll Plaza on I-90 to avoid a double toll.

To help direct drivers, the Tollway is distributing information cards with detour maps and directions at nearby toll plazas including the River Road and Devon Avenue toll plazas on I-90 and the Touhy Avenue Toll Plaza on I-294, as well as at the Lake Forest and O’Hare Oases. Construction project and detour information is also available in the “Construction/Planning” section on the Tollway’s website at www.illinoistollway.com.

2012 Construction Plan

Tri-Level Bridge Project work in 2012 will complete the rehabilitation of the Tri-Level Bridge Ramps and the improvements are expected to keep the structure in a state of good repair. On average, more than 22,000 vehicles per day traveled this interchange in 2011.

Work includes replacement of concrete beams, bridge deck and bearings and concrete repair on the existing bridge substructure. The last work performed on this bridge was done 12 years ago, but only included isolated patching. This is the first full replacement of the bridge decks since the structure opened in 1958.

The project will also require occasional closures on I-90 and on I-294 for bridge beam removal and replacement. These lane closures will be scheduled during off-peak hours to minimize the impact on traffic. The Illinois Tollway is coordinating work with the Illinois Department of Transportation, local municipalities and officials from nearby O’Hare International Airport.

Work Zone Safety

A 45 m.p.h. speed limit is in effect 24/7 in all construction zones, whether or not workers are present. Drivers should continue to watch for changing traffic patterns and use caution, especially when workers are present.

Illinois State Police have zero tolerance for drivers speeding in work zones. The minimum penalty for speeding in a work zone is $375. Posted signs advise drivers of a $10,000 fine and 14-year jail sentence for hitting a roadway worker.

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