Mt. Vernon Register-News

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January 28, 2011

Interstate 57 expanding to six lanes

MT. VERNON — Interstate 57 will go from four lanes to six lanes by 2013.

“This is the first part of the I-57 Corridor, which expands I-57 from Mt. Vernon to Marion,” Mayor Mary Jane Chesley said. “We are the first city to be able to take advantage of this corridor of opportunity.”

According to Illinois Department of Transportation District 9 Project Development Engineer Carrie Nelson the $30 million project is coming from IDOT funds, and although there is a long-range plan to expand to six lanes south to Marion, that has not been scheduled.

“There’s no funding for the rest at this time,” Nelson said. “It’s a long-range plan, but no funding has been appropriated for the further expansion of I-57. We are making small steps forward in the progress of the plan. When we fix a bridge or work on a bridge, we do make sure it’s big enough to accommodate any future expansion.”

Work in Mt. Vernon on the interstate will take place in three phases and encompass the area from the merge of interstates 57 and 64 north of Mt. Vernon and extend down to the split of the two interstates south of Mt. Vernon.

Phase one is expected to go out for bids on April 29, and will include patching and preparatory work for the northbound lanes of I-57. Concrete barriers will be set, shoulder work done and the cross over lanes constructed.

Phases two and three will take place over the next two years and include rubblizationzation of the existing road surface, creation of the six concrete lanes and bridge work over the railroad line. Construction is expected to be complete December 2013.

Nelson said construction could begin as early as June, if competitive bids are received. If good bids are received, it would take 45 days to award the contract, then construction could begin immediately, she said.

“This is going to be tremendous,” State Rep. John Cavaletto said. Cavaletto was on hand for the announcement of the expansion, which was given by Chesley at the end of her state of the city report on Thursday. “The flow of traffic, coming north to south while merging, is very congested at times. I think this will open Mt. Vernon from the north end to the south end.”

Cavaletto also said he believes there is benefit of having the six lane expansion start in Mt. Vernon as part of the long-range plan to create the I-57 corridor to Marion in the form of development.

“Mt. Vernon can benefit right away,” Cavaletto said. “When a business comes here to look at locations, they can see we have the roadways to support their development.”

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