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Illinois Governor Announces Key Milestones Reached on $1.3B I-80 Corridor Project

JOLIET, IL — Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) were joined by local officials and community leaders to celebrate several 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," Pritzker said. "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.

The Houbolt Road interchange in Joliet was recently 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.

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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 one, 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."

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.

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