The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that inspection of the Interstate 80 bridges over the Des Plaines River, in Joliet, will begin, weather permitting, Monday, May 1. I-80 traffic delays are expected.
To complete the inspections, daily lane closures will be required, starting with the westbound bridge until May 8, when inspections begin on the eastbound bridge. Inspections on both bridges are expected to be complete by May 13, weather permitting.
To minimize the impact to I-80 traffic, the closures will take place between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Saturdays, if necessary. A minimum of one lane in both directions will remain open during inspections.
Motorists can expect I-80 traffic delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to flaggers and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits and be on the alert for workers and equipment.
The replacement of the Des Plaines River bridges and larger improvements to I-80 in Will County are a cornerstone project in Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program, which will invest $33.2 billion in transportation infrastructure across all modes throughout the state.
Advance work on I-80 started in summer 2021, with a $41.7 million project to replace the eastbound bridges over Hickory Creek, Richards Street and Rowell Avenue/Canadian National Railroad, and westbound over Richards Street, in Joliet, Rockdale and New Lenox, while widening eastbound I-80 from Gardner Street to Rowell Avenue. Once the eastbound improvements are nearing completion later this year, similar improvements will begin in the westbound direction.
The overall I-80 project will redesign and rebuild 16 miles from Ridge Road, in Minooka, to U.S. 30, in Joliet and New Lenox, while adding or extending auxiliary lanes to improve safety and reduce congestion. Interchanges will be rebuilt or improved at Interstate 55, Illinois 7, Center Street, Chicago Street, Richards Street and Briggs Street, with a new flyover ramp linking southbound I-55 to eastbound Interstate 80 to improve I-80 traffic flow and safety. More than 30 bridges will be rehabilitated or replaced, including those over the Des Plaines River.