CHAMPAIGN — A $1.1 million project to improve the ramps at the interchange of Interstates 57 and 74, scheduled to start Tuesday, will mean some serious detours.
The work on ramps from I-74 to northbound I-57 will send drivers south and then back north. Similarly, the work on ramps from I-74 to southbound I-57 will send drivers north and then back south.
The state transportation department plans to work on one ramp per day over late May and early June, patching the surface of each.
Then, about a month after the patching, each ramp will get a "high friction surface treatment."
The 57/74 interchange has been the scene of more traffic accidents than any other interchange through Champaign-Urbana, statistics show. The state is making plans to redesign the interchange, but no formal schedule for starting that work has been finalized, and that project is significantly more expensive.
For this project, a marked detour will take northbound traffic south on I-57 to the Curtis Road interchange, where drivers will cross the overpass, then return to the northbound lanes. Another marked detour will take southbound traffic from I-74 north to the Market Street interchange, where again drivers would cross the overpass, then return to the southbound lanes.
Some drivers probably will opt for the University Avenue and Olympian Drive exits, which are closer to the 74/57 interchange, but where the exit-and-return can take longer because of the traffic signals involved.
Signs and message boards will be in place for the project.
Here's the tentative closure schedule; each ramp should reopen the same day it was closed:
May 20: Ramp from I-74 westbound to I-57 southbound will be closed.
May 21: Ramp from I-74 eastbound to I-57 southbound will be closed.
May 22: Ramp from I-74 westbound to I-57 northbound will be closed.
May 27: Ramp from I-57 southbound to I-74 eastbound will be closed.
May 28: Ramp from I-57 southbound to I-74 westbound will be closed.
May 29: Ramp from I-57 northbound to I-74 eastbound will be closed.
June 2: Ramp from I-57 northbound to I-74 westbound will be closed.
June 4: Ramp from I-74 eastbound to I-57 northbound will be closed.
Due to weather and other delays, the schedule may change.
The overall project has an anticipated completion date of Sept. 4, 2014. The contractor for the $1,211,654 project is G.M. Sipes Construction.