Slowdown for drivers in the coming months - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Southern Illinois

Slowdown for drivers in the coming months

Slowdown for drivers in the coming months
By: Arnold Wyrick

In an effort to keep drivers safe on southern Illinois roadways, engineers with the Illinois Department of Transportation plan to spend in excess of 60-million dollars to upgrade the roads.

The massive construction plans will begin in the middle of April with a 'rubblization' project.  Crews will shutdown one lane of traffic on Interstate 57 from Marion north to the Franklin County line.

"While the works ongoing we're anticipating anywhere from a three to five mile backup of traffic, due to the lane closures," says Greg Smothers a project implementation engineer with IDOT.

So what's the problem with the interstate?

"We've got 100 foot spans of concrete jointed together.  Those joints are protruding up causing a rough ride for drivers.  If we were to resurface it you'd have those joints reflect up again in 2-3 years.  We'd be right back to where we are today, " Smother said.

But that's not the only project slated for the main corridor between southern Illinois, and northern Illinois.

Crews will also begin work in the coming months on the overpasses on Old Route 13.  Both the exit ramps, and entrance ramps will be affected by the construction.

"The life expectancy of those structures will be 60-plus years.  They were built in the 1960's and we're having problems with the surface of the decking on the interstate.  The traffic on the interstate, especially -the truck traffic- beat the decks up, " says Carrie Nelsen program development engineer with IDOT.

The department will posts signs prior to the beginning of construction to warn motorists about the delays.  And traffic may have to be rerouted to alternative routes during the project.  The construction is only slated for the northbound lanes of Interstate 57 at this time.

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