Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 31, 2007


Contact:


 
Mike Claffey (IDOT) 312-814-3957
Marisa Kollias (IDOT) 312-814-4693


IDOT joins City of Mt. Vernon and local leaders to break ground on new Interchange

Project hailed by civic leaders as a much-needed infrastructure improvement and potential economic engine for southern Illinois

MT. VERNON – Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials today joined Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley and other local and state leaders to break ground on the new Mt. Vernon Interchange for Veteran’s Memorial Drive.  The $15.5 million project, funded through IDOT will improve safety, ease congestion and improve access in the heavily traveled area by creating an overpass that will take Veteran’s Memorial Drive over Interstate 57/64.

“For years, residents of Mt. Vernon have had to deal with heavy congestion along the Illinois 15 corridor,” said IDOT Assistant Secretary David Phelps.  “This project builds on the Governor’s commitment to improve safety on our roadways and create opportunities for economic development.  The new overpass will improve safety by easing congestion on Illinois 15, and will also provide far better access to the area west of I-57/64, which will ultimately improve local commerce.  We are proud to break ground on this project today, and look forward to its completion.”

“This is a spectacular day for Mt. Vernon,” said Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley. “The interchange and its completion mean an opportunity for economic growth and development for Mt. Vernon and southern Illinois.  In addition, the new interchange will provide added safety, by helping traffic move more smoothly through this heavily traveled area."

Currently, the only way to access the Mt. Vernon business district from the 57/64 Interstate is by using the Illinois Route 15 interchange.  This project will provide much improved access to these areas west of Interstate 57/64.  It will also create significant job growth in the area, from the commercial development that is anticipated.  Furthermore, this project will ultimately provide access to a future hospital complex, to be developed on the east side of the interstate.

“This has been a long time coming, as we have worked on getting this interchange for many years,” said State Senator John O. Jones (R-54th District).  “It is a great day for Mt. Vernon and southern Illinois, and this is a tremendous opportunity for economic development for Mt. Vernon and surrounding areas.”

“Transportation and infrastructure are important factors to the economic development equation,” said State Representative Kurt Granberg (D-107th District).  “Not only is this project important for the immediate economic future of Mt. Vernon, it’s also important for the long-term economic strategy for the entire region.”

E.T. Simonds Construction Company is the contractor for the project.  The location of the project is approximately one mile south of the existing Interstate 57 interchange with Illinois 15 in Mt. Vernon.

The project involves construction of a new interchange on Interstate 57/64 with Veteran’s Memorial Drive.  The work will also include the construction of two local intersections, an overpass carrying Veteran’s Memorial Drive over Interstate 57/64, and a northbound and southbound auxiliary lane on the interstate between the Veteran’s Memorial Drive and Illinois Route 15 interchanges.

This project will require periodic lane closures during the construction process and crews will work during evening and overnight hours, when possible, to minimize the impact on traffic flow.  This includes the construction of the new shoulders along northbound and southbound I-57 and setting the bridge beams over I-57.  Lane shifts will be utilized during the remainder of construction, with all lanes open to the driving public.

Access to all residential and business properties will be maintained at all times with two-way local traffic.

Completion of the project is anticipated by Fall 2009.  Major quantities include:

  • 427,000 cubic yards of borrow excavation
  • 23,500 tons of hot mix asphalt
  • 17,500 square yards of full depth hot mix pavement & shoulders
  • 27,000 square yards of concrete pavement
  • 18,000 square feet of concrete sidewalk
  • 276,000 pounds of reinforcement bars

Bridge major details include:

  • 2,800 feet of 54” plate girders (composite)
  • 260’ back to back of abutments
  • 74’ width face to face of curb, with an additional 10’ bike trail
  • 1,387 square yards of bridge deck
  • Two lanes in each direction
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