Illinois Governor's Office issued the following announcement on Sept. 26.
Gov. Bruce Rauner joined Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn and local officials today to announce the start of a $47 million project to rebuild the Interstate 80-U.S. 30 interchange. The new interchange will provide congestion relief, improve safety and enhance traffic flow in a critical freight and jobs corridor for the state.
"This interchange is a major reason why Illinois is a leader in transportation," Rauner said. "Strategic investments like this not only enhance quality of life and improve the flow of goods, services and people, but also set the stage for economic growth for generations to come."
The Illinois Department of Transportation project will extend a third lane in each direction on I-80 from approximately Interstate 355 through the U.S. 30 interchange. The bridges carrying I-80 over U.S. 30, Metra's Rock Island District Line and Hickory Creek will be rebuilt.
The exit and entrance ramps will be realigned to better accommodate higher traffic volumes, while U.S. 30 will be reconstructed through the interchange. Other components of the project include modernized traffic signals, drainage improvements and the extension of a bicycle and pedestrian path along U.S. 30. An earlier project replaced the Old Plank Road Trail bridge over I-80 to accommodate the larger interchange.
"We are proud to embark on this important project that will strengthen our status as the transportation hub of North America," Blankenhorn said. "We are not just improving traffic and travel times on a crucial corridor but we also are creating a new gateway to our local communities in Will County."
"This project represents an investment in a key part of our state that will pay dividends for years to come," Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said. "Once again, under Gov. Rauner's leadership, we are making improvements that will make Illinois an even better place to live, work and do business."
"All of us living along I-80 know its modernization is long overdue," said Rep. Margo McDermed, R-Mokena. "The I-80 corridor through Will County is one of the most heavily trafficked in the country and this project will not only reduce congestion, but also crucially improve the safety of this interchange.
"This project is the direct result of a collaborative effort from stakeholders at every level to secure plans and funding to reduce the hazardous bottleneck created here," she continued. "It is only the first step to improve a critical piece of Illinois infrastructure and I am committed to passing long-term, sustainable funding for Illinois' infrastructure needs."
"New Lenox is one of the fastest growing communities in Will County, residentially and commercially. We have a tremendous amount of traffic that flows through our community and gets off right here at this interchange. This is an interchange that was in desperate need of improvement," said New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann. "It was a great team effort, and one that was sorely needed."
Will County Center for Economic Development President John Greuling said that according to a recently conducted study, Will County is the No. 1 inland port in North America, with more than 3.5 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product passing through each year on I-80. Reconstructing the road, adding capacity, and making it a safer thoroughfare will boost the local economy, he added.
"This project will not only bring hundreds of good union construction jobs but will also support the many existing companies that are already in the area, and it will be a welcoming location for new companies moving into Will County," Greuling said.
Preconstruction activities begin next week with tree removal and continue through the fall and winter. Construction of the interchange will begin in spring, with a projected completion date of late 2021.
Funding for the project was made possible by a $241 million statewide investment Gov. Rauner announced in June for projects that improve the mobility of freight through Illinois and provide long-term benefits in congestion relief and economic opportunity.
Original source can be found here.