The new Mile Long Bridge will receive its last shipments of beams this month. The final 22 concrete beams needed to complete the project are scheduled for delivery in early June. Deliveries will impact traffic on both I-294 and I-90.
The deliveries will bring the total of concrete beams for the new bridge to 250. Altogether, the beams weigh a combined 115 tons. In addition, 165 steel beams have already been delivered to the site.
Police will accompany the transport trucks on their deliveries, which will park on I-294 southbound. They are scheduled to take place between 4 a.m. and noon on weekdays, with a few deliveries taking place overnight. Because of these schedules, the deliveries may impact morning commuters. Both the transport trucks themselves and the construction zone speed limits will likely slow traffic significantly. The Illinois Tollway, one of the major partners in the project, will post daily traffic alerts on their website.
The 4-year-old Mile Long Bridge Project nears completion
The Mile Long Bridge is a section of I-294 that crosses over the Des Plains River and two major railroads. It sits almost equidistant between Chicago and Joliet, one of the region’s main transport hubs. It carries about 150,000 vehicles every day.
The $500 million project to rebuild both sections of the Mile Long Bridge began in 2019. The project aims to ease traffic congestion by widening the bridges. It will also make important infrastructure improvements, such as improved drainage of stormwater. Construction on the northbound segment was completed in 2020. Authorities expect the entire project to wrap up by the end of 2023.
The bridge project is part of the larger $4 billion Central Tri-State Tollway expansion. That project includes a variety of improvements to I-294, such as improved drainage and noise reduction. I-294 desperately needed the improvements, as it is now over 60 years old. And, while some sections of the interstate have already been reconstructed, the central portion has not.