Illinois Tollway, Illinois DOT holding town hall meeting for Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 interchange project

Chicago Southland community members are invited to stop by a town hall meeting on Thursday, September 13, in Midlothian and learn more about construction underway on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294)/I-57 Interchange Project.

Participants will also be able to register to receive a newsletter with project updates as work progresses on the new, all-electronic interchange.

Hosted by the Illinois Tollway, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), State Rep. Bob Rita and the Village of Midlothian, Ill., the open house style meeting will allow community members to view informational displays, learn about ongoing construction and ask questions about the project that will stimulate economic development and improve overall transportation throughout the region.

The town hall meeting will be held from 5-8 p.m. on September 13, at the Raday Lodge, 3220 W. 145th Street in Midlothian.  Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur, Rep. Rita and Midlothian Mayor Terry Stephens will welcome attendees at 6:30 p.m. and a presentation of construction activities will run throughout the course of the event.

“This meeting gives everyone a chance to learn more about the construction of this long-sought interchange to finally connect I-57 to the Tollway system,” said Lafleur.  “It’s important for us to keep customers and local residents updated on our progress and listen to what they have to say as we work to deliver this new interchange to the Chicago Southland.”

The $719 million interchange project will connect I-294 and I-57, one of only two points in the nation where interstates cross but do not connect, as part of the Tollway’s $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future.

In addition to community outreach aimed at providing residents, businesses and other stakeholders the latest project information, the Tollway is actively working to increase the number and raise awareness of contract opportunities and provide technical assistance to smaller businesses seeking to do business with the Tollway.

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“The neighborhoods and residents of Chicago’s South Side and the south suburbs have long demanded greater investment in transportation infrastructure,” said Rep. Rita.  “The I-294/I-57 Interchange delivers on that investment, generating opportunities for economic growth and employment throughout the region.”

The first phase of the I-294/I-57 Interchange Project will create access from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294 and southbound I-294 to southbound I-57, including a new interchange at 147th Street. These improvements are scheduled to be completed in 2014, delivering 75 percent of the project’s benefits to the traveling public.

This year, the Illinois Tollway is rebuilding and widening the I-294 bridges over 147th Street to accommodate construction of a northbound entrance ramp to I-294 from I-57 and a southbound exit ramp from I-294 to 147th Street, as well as the reconstruction and widening of 147th Street.

The Tollway’s work also includes the realignment of a portion of Dixie Creek.  Realignment of the creek is necessary as it currently runs through the pathway of the future interchange ramp that will take drivers from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294.  Dixie Creek work will not impact Tollway traffic.

In addition to the Tollway’s work, this year, IDOT will complete the $35 million rebuilding of the existing northbound and southbound I-57 bridge structures over I-294 and the $7 million replacement and widening the Kedzie Avenue Bridge over I-57.  The state’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital investment in 2010 helped rebuild and widen the I-57 overpass at I-294, a critical first step toward building a full interchange at the site.

The new, all-electronic I-294/57 Interchange will accommodate 76,000 vehicles per day and provide direct freight access to Chicago’s south suburbs – saving drivers $4 million annually in fuel consumption.  The full interchange is expected to be completed in 2024.