DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – Transport and delivery of bridge beams are scheduled to continue in March for the Illinois Tollway’s new southbound Mile Long Bridge on the Central Tri-State Tollway, Interstate-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 March, the final 30 steel beam segments from a Kentucky manufacturing plant are expected to be delivered for the Mile Long Bridge. 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. Delivery of concrete beams is scheduled to resume in April.
Each of the 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 Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.
Altogether 250 concrete beams and 165 steel beam segments will be delivered to the site for the new southbound Mile Long Bridge during the project.
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 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.
Joseph Price has been a journalist for almost two decades. He began in community media in 2005 and has since worked at media outlets in Virginia and Arkansas. He is also a commercial drone pilot and video editor. He hosts a weekly community radio show focused on goth, metal and industrial music that airs Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. at www.kuhsradio.org.