Q: What are the bigger road-construction projects this summer?
A: We spoke with Ken Crawford, the project implementation engineer with Illinois Department of Transportation District 5, about what to expect.
Prospect Avenue bridge
Starting June 1, IDOT will begin rehabbing the Prospect Avenue bridge over Interstate 74, tying up an already busy corridor to the North Prospect Avenue shopping district.
"It needs some maintenance," Crawford said. "We'll re-deck it and fix some of the potholes on that bridge. ... We're putting in a little bit of money (so it can) last another 20 years."
He said the project will cost $1.4 million.
They hope to wrap up by the end of October.
"We'll try to be done by the time holiday shopping starts," he said.
The bridge will always be open, Crawford said, though the construction could close the ramps from I-74 if traffic starts backing up onto them.
"The ramps are slated to remain open. However, if traffic is queuing up onto the Interstate as a result, we're going to have to do something. We can't have sitting ducks with people traveling 60, 70 mph."
As for increased traffic, Crawford said, "We're going to do everything we can to alleviate that problem."
There will be a public information meeting and plenty of signs, he said.
"We want to get as many people informed about this job," Crawford said.
Between Mattis and Prospect avenues, IDOT is upgrading sidewalk ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, upgrading traffic signals and patching and paving the road along that stretch.
This project started April 1 and is expected to be completed in the middle of June, Crawford said.
I-74 from Ogden to Fithian
Like last year, I-74 will be under construction between Urbana and Danville.
This summer, the work will move farther east between Ogden and Fithian.
"That job is slated to start in May, and we've put time restrictions on when the contractor can work," Crawford said.
So they won't be able to work in the morning on the westbound lanes or in the evenings on the eastbound lanes, when traffic counts are higher.
This work will include patching, milling and overlay, Crawford said, and should last through November.
Bradley Avenue bridge
Work continues on replacing the Bradley Avenue bridge over I-57.
The road's already closed, and work will continue through November, Crawford said.
Right now, they're in the process of removing the structure, which will result in some nighttime closures of I-57.
"We can't pull the steel beams off with traffic flowing," Crawford said. "We're doing that at night, so it shouldn't impact traffic too much."
University Avenue in Urbana
IDOT could begin a major $8 million project rebuilding University Avenue from Wright Street to Cunningham Avenue.
It was supposed to start in April, but IDOT is still purchasing all the rights of way it needs.
The whole project is going to take a couple years, Crawford said.
"We'll be doing storm sewer work, utility work," he said. "A lot of ADA ramp work, all new sidewalks. It's a safety improvement to that corridor. Then we'll put down new pavement as well."
In August, IDOT plans to begin working on the first steps of what will be a massive rebuilding of the I-57/I-74 interchange.
This year, IDOT is working only on Mattis Avenue over I-74, Mattis Avenue over I-57 and Bloomington Road up to I-57.
"Those need to be lengthened to match the footprint for the new interchange," Crawford said. "That starts that project for the next few years."
The majority of this bridge-lengthening construction is going to happen next year, he said, with the work on the interchange itself not starting until probably 2021.
The whole interchange project has a budget of $121.2 million.
IDOT began studying this in 2012, completing a 1,947-page report in 2015 that recommended a new "semi-directional" design.