Central Illinois’ I-57 bridges are being upgraded between mile markers 198 and 213. Greg Idleman, field engineer of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) said it was time. “We are replacing the decks due to age and deterioration by salt,” he added.
Idleman noted that many highways in Illinois have reached or are beyond their use expectancy. With most highways originally built with a 20-year life expectancy, through the addition of asphalt and upgrades, their use has been extended. However, every roadway reaches a point where upgrades or replacements are needed. For those lucky residents and travelers on I-57’s central Illinois corridor, these time-worn bridges were not just being upgraded, but replaced.
The I-57 project began in March of 2002. During the fall, contractors beefed up the shoulders in preparation for the bridge replacement to come. Walker Construction of Mattoon, IL, was the main contractor responsible for the $7-million project.
Sangamo, of Springfield, IL, and Halwell Asphalt, of Mattoon, IL, worked with Walker Construction on this project as well. During the summer and fall of 2002, trackhoes were used to remove the concrete decks. Idleman said they began by focusing first on the outside lanes.
“We just removed half of the bridge deck area and set up a concrete barrier to separate the work area from the traffic,” he explained. The next phase of the construction was to start forming a new concrete deck using reinforcement steel and by pouring new concrete.
Idleman said that the project was, “Pretty straight forward.”
The excavation portion of the project required the use of a variety of construction equipment such as cranes, backhoes, trackhoes and bridge finishing machines.
With a crew of approximately 25 working on site, the job proceeded as planned, and the first year’s work was completed in October.
Idleman noted, though, that this same type of project would be happening on I-57 from Pesopum to Champaign during spring 2003.
For mor information, visit www.dot.state.il.us/default.html.Dist5.