Traffic alert: Summer projects on I-74, I-57, U.S. 45

Traffic alert: Summer projects on I-74, I-57, U.S. 45

As spring turns into summer, construction crews are already busy making upgrades to area highways.

The News-Gazette spoke with Ken Crawford, a project implementation engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation, about some of the projects travelers could run into this summer.

Following a string of crashes near construction areas, Crawford encourages drivers to pay attention.

"The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings and look for traffic that is stopped or queued up," he said. "That's where 90 percent of our accidents occur, when someone is rear-ended in stopped traffic."

Interstate 74

The biggest project in the area is on Interstate 74 from Urbana to Ogden.

"That's our big contract," Crawford said. That began in April and "will last up until November."

Crews are patching, milling and putting in a new asphalt surface, he said.

"They're also replacing a box culvert structure," he said, to help with drainage.

That project costs about $15 million, Crawford said.

Later this summer, IDOT will also repair a bridge in Mahomet near the Sangamon River. That will begin in "July at the earliest," Crawford said, and work will be done at night to minimize disruption.

U.S. 45

On U.S. 45 in Urbana from Airport Road to University Avenue, IDOT is patching and milling the road, as well as making some structure repairs, Crawford said.

That started last week and is scheduled to continue until November, he said.

Interstate 57

From Tuscola to Mattoon on I-57, IDOT has several short-term patching contracts.

"There's some small maintenance contracts where we go in and do some patching or guardrail repairs," Crawford said. "That will be intermittent."