Where are We Now?
The I-80 project also included a Phase I Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Studies project and Phase II design plans for near-term improvements. The scope of these near-term improvements was developed based on the project’s bridge inspections and traffic and crash analyses. The near-term study focused on specific existing corridor conditions that needed correction, rehabilitation, or reconstruction before the long-term project can be funded for construction. Near-term conditions included operational and safety deficiencies, pavement deficiencies, and structure rehabilitation/reconstruction needs that are present due to effects of use, time and weather.
The recommended Build Alternative was processed as a Categorical Exclusion Group II by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and received Design Approval on December 21, 2015.
What are the Interim Improvements?
Stage 1: Maintenance Resurfacing and Repair
Maintenance, resurfacing, and Bridge repairs were completed in 2011.
Stage 2: Interim Rehabilitation Improvements
To extend the service life of the I-80 corridor until a long-term improvement can be completed, the Department has undertaken a Phase I Study targeted at a major rehabilitation of the corridor. The work required to extend the service life includes approximately 2.5 lane miles of reconstructed roadway east and west of the Des Plaines River, specifically between Chicago Street and the Rowell Avenue / Wisconsin Central Limited (WCL) Railroad bridge and just east of the Joliet Junction Trail bridge to just west of the Wheeler Avenue bridge. The reconstructed roadway will maintain the existing cross-section but will also build future lanes as shoulders in the near-term to maximize salvageability. The reconstructed roadway will tie into the existing interchanges with some slight modifications. In addition to the roadway work, 15 bridges will have deck replacement and widening with some concrete repairs to extend their service life and 10 bridges will have total structure replacement and widening. Overlays, concrete repairs, and maintenance work will also occur at bridges at seven other locations. Guardrail and drainage improvements with some in-line detention storage will also be incorporated into various areas throughout the study limits where deficiencies have been identified.
Stage 2 also addresses the staging of these improvements into reasonable construction packages that could be implemented over several years. The Department is currently preparing construction plans for the Package A contract (between Chicago Street and the Rowell Avenue / WCL Railroad bridge). The anticipated letting for the eastbound package is September 2017 followed by the westbound package in September 2018 contingent upon plan readiness, land acquisition, obtaining all necessary environmental permitting and funding availability through the Departments Annual Legislative appropriations. Two other packages make up the Near-Term improvements. Package B work involves re-decking and repair to the Des Plaines River truss bridges. Package C work involves reconstruction/repair of select bridges and the roadway west of the Des Plaines River.
The packages were based on a priority for completion provided by the Department with respect to maintenance requirements and other advanced work prior to the future reconstruction of I-80. Packaging and advance work also incorporates necessary construction staging to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction always during construction activities for all projects.