Press Release - Wednesday, November 01, 2023
Gov. Pritzker Announces Key Milestones Reached on $1.3 Billion I-80 Corridor Project
New bridges and Houbolt Road interchange reopening, mainline contracts underway with almost 12 miles slated to start construction in spring
JOLIET— Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) were joined today by local officials and community leaders to celebrate several important milestones on the $1.3 billion overhaul of Interstate 80, setting up one of the cornerstone projects in the governor's Rebuild Illinois capital program to be almost fully under construction in the spring. Entering next construction season, an estimated $385 million worth of projects just on I-80's mainline lanes will be underway on almost 12 miles of the corridor, signaling the start of a major new phase.
"Illinoisans deserve infrastructure built for the modern era, with the highest standards of safety and reliability, and a little less congestion and frustration," said Governor JB Pritzker. "That's why the General Assembly and I dedicated $1.3 billion of our road modernization plan — the largest single allocation — to the rebuilding and restoration of I-80 through Will, Grundy and Kendall Counties. These improvements will not only make it safer for commercial drivers, but for the thousands of families who rely on I-80 to commute to work, drive their kids to school, and move safely through their daily lives."
The reconstruction of I-80 is replacing more than 50-year-old infrastructure, improving safety, adding capacity, and building new connections across the interstate. The projects also create thousands of construction and permanent jobs while boosting quality of life and positioning the region for long-term economic opportunity.
Over the weekend, the Houbolt Road interchange in Joliet was converted to a diverging-diamond design, marking substantial completion of a project in excess of $200 million with CenterPoint Properties, the city of Joliet, and Will County. The work improves access to North America's largest inland port and opens up new economic development opportunities. The state contributed $32 million toward the project.
Other I-80 elements soon to be wrapping up include the Shepley Road and Wheeler Avenue bridges over the interstate, weather permitting. The new structures will accommodate the larger footprint needed to support I-80 capacity and safety enhancements, with pedestrian and bicycle accommodations added to Wheeler Avenue. Similar improvements to the Briggs Street bridge are ongoing and will finish in late 2024, with construction starting on the River Road bridge this winter.
On the west end of the corridor, temporary pavement is being added to I-80's westbound lanes between Ridge and River roads to accommodate traffic in the work zone during the upcoming construction seasons.
Finally, IDOT has awarded or is finalizing contracts that will cover nearly 12 miles of improvements to I-80, between Ridge Road and Center Street and from Rowell Avenue to U.S. 30. Once the improvements are complete, tentative for 2026, the final piece on I-80 will begin: the Center Street and Chicago Street interchanges as well as new bridges over the Des Plaines River. The entire project is anticipated to be substantially complete by the end of 2028, with landscaping, bridge demolition, and miscellaneous work extending into 2029.
"Since Day 1, IDOT under Gov. Pritzker has made fixing I-80 a priority," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "The governor's capital program is the driving force behind major projects coming online or currently unfolding up and down the state. Please continue to pardon our dust while we Rebuild Illinois: Slow down, stay patient and pay extra attention when driving in and around any work zone."
The overall I-80 project will redesign and rebuild 16 miles from Ridge Road in Minooka to U.S. 30 in Joliet and New Lenox, improving travel times and reducing congestion. Interchanges will be rebuilt or improved at Interstate 55, Illinois 7, Center Street, Chicago Street, Richards Street and Briggs Street, with a new flyover ramp linking southbound I-55 to eastbound I-80 to improve traffic flow and safety. More than 30 bridges will be rehabilitated or replaced.
Also included are projects for people who walk, bike, and roll to help decrease barriers and connect communities, including a new path along Chicago Street from Doris Avenue to Fifth Avenue in Joliet.
The I-80 rebuild includes workers from the Highway Construction Careers Training Program, an IDOT initiative in partnership with South Suburban Community College in South Holland to provide minority and women students with on-the-job experience in the construction trades.
"I-80 is vital for our local transportation network and it's long overdue for this reconstruction project," said County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. "This project will prove to be one of the most impactful infrastructure projects for Will County in decades. Once completed, residents will have access to a safer roadway with reduced congestion."
"The improvements to the I-80 corridor have been much anticipated," said Shorewood Mayor Clarence ‘CC' DeBold. "This creates safer roads and improved transit throughout the region. We look forward to seeing this project at its full completion.
"I commend Governor Pritzker for his exemplary leadership and his visionary commitment to addressing the critical imperative of investing in our roads and infrastructure, particularly focusing on I-80, through the Rebuild Illinois capital program," said Joliet Mayor Terry D'Arcy.
Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state's aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first that touches all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
For more information, visit I80will.org. The mobile-friendly website features project information, photos, and the ability to submit questions and comments to the project team.
* See Attached PDF Map