Drivers: Gear up for construction season

March 15, 2010 2:24:17 PM PDT
The big project this year is the resurfacing of I-355, the Veterans Memorial Tollway, but it's not the only one.

I-355 turns 20 this year. To celebrate, crews will begin an extensive resurfacing and repair job next month. Some of the pavement shows signs of wear and tear, but some of it looks pretty good. So what gives?

"I look at this particular project as protecting our investment and also making sure we get the most of this pavement's life that we can," said Paul Kovacs, chief engineer, Illinois Tollway.

The south end near Boughton will undergo pavement repairs. The sections between 83rd and 75th and Ogden to Army Trail will be repaired and resurfaced. Forty four bridge structures will also be repaired. Three lanes of traffic will remain open in each direction during construction, but drivers should still expect delays.

"They're going to have some traffic shifts out there. There are going to be barrels on the roadway, that will slow people down," said Kovacs.

The other Tollway project that will have a major impact on traffic is a 5-mile stretch of interstate known as the Edens spur ramp.

The 50-year-old Edens spur connects the Tri-state and the Edens Expressway near Northbrook. The road work will be similar to that of 355 - bridge repairs, pavement patching and resurfacing with one big difference; traffic will be reduced to only one lane in each direction.

"The bridges on this stretch of the Edens are restrictive in their widths. They're too narrow for us to maintain two lanes throughout construction and safely deploy workers and keep traffic away from the work zone," said Kovacs.

Originally slated to be a two-year project, engineers compressed it into just one, with lane reductions beginning in July. The Edens spur and I-355 are scheduled for completion by the end of this year.