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Final stage of Interstate 70 project in Effingham County begins Tuesday

Traffic control barricades for road construction.
Matthew Hamilton

Traffic reduced to one lane in each direction until fall

EFFINGHAM – The Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding the public that the reconstruction of westbound Interstate 70 from just east of the I-57/70 interchange to just east of the Cumberland/Effingham County line, east of Montrose, will begin, weather permitting, Tuesday, April 9. The project will include several new safety features this year and a start date timed to not interfere with Monday’s solar eclipse that is anticipated to bring large crowds to the southern part of the state. In addition, IDOT has created a webpage, idot.click/I70, to keep motorists informed of important updates and changing conditions along the I-70/U.S. 40 corridor.

Once the work zone is established starting Tuesday, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction on the eastbound lanes rebuilt last year, separated by the barrier walls, while the westbound lanes are reconstructed.

Until the project is complete this fall, backups and congestion approaching the work zone should be anticipated at all times. Drivers are urged to slow down, put down their phones and devices, avoid all distractions, and watch for workers and equipment as well as give their undivided attention to traffic control signs and changing conditions in and around the work zone.

The work zone will include several new safety elements. They include extra dynamic message signs posted in advance of the northbound and eastbound I-57/70 split, helping to move I-57 traffic to the left lane. Temporary rumble strips will be installed prior to the work zone and through it to help keep drivers alert. Illinois State Police will have an enhanced presence throughout this construction season, checking for distracted driving, speeding and other traffic offenses.

In recent weeks, IDOT has met and coordinated with local police and fire departments in Effingham County to advise them on other safety elements added at their request, including pull-off locations in the work zone to respond to vehicle breakdowns or crashes. The group also discussed the most efficient method to access the work zone when crashes or other emergencies occur as well as other logistical details aimed at keeping the public safe.

Made possible by Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital program, the overall $50 million improvement on I-70 includes the reconstruction of 7 miles in both directions, including the replacement of the eastbound and westbound bridges over the Montrose Blacktop.

Over the next six years, IDOT is planning to improve more than 3,000 miles of highway and nearly 10 million square feet of bridge deck as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, which is investing $33.2 billion into all modes of transportation. Accomplishments through Year Four of Rebuild Illinois included approximately $12.1 billion of improvements statewide on 5,339 miles of highway, 533 bridges and 762 additional safety improvements.

For IDOT District 7 updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOTDistrict7 or sign up to receive email alerts from IDOT in Motion. You also can follow IDOT on Facebook.


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