Drivers on Interstate 55 in Montgomery County will do more than get their kicks on historic old Route 66. They’ll get their sniffs and sights of the wildflowers, animals and monarch butterflies at the new Litchfield Route 66 Prairie.The attraction, just north of Litchfield, is a collaboration with IDOT and Montgomery County environmental groups to create 10 acres of green space that is home to more than 200 native plant species and includes a walking path along the highway. The prairie is also part of the Illinois Route 66 Monarch Flyway and provides resources these insects need when making their migratory journey.
One year, one introduction and 23 editions later
We have wrapped up the first year of the Telegram! This is a major milestone for us. We thank you for taking the time out of your day to read our newsletter. We’ve enjoyed sharing all things IDOT and hope you’ve found these emails enjoyable as well as informative.
As part of our one-year anniversary, we are looking for your input! Newsletters should change and evolve to ensure you’re getting the information you want. We’re looking to get your thoughts on the Telegram. Please take the short survey below. It’s four questions that will help us improve the Telegram and keep you better informed on how IDOT makes Illinois a great place to live, work and visit.
Click here to take the survey.
In District 4, landscaping is underway to beautify a mile and a half of Peoria’s Interstate 74 corridor — a highly visible city gateway from the Illinois River. Work encompasses an area west of the Murray Baker Bridge to Ellis Street and will include some native plant species while providing clear sightlines and manicured ramps.
The $226,000 project began in April and is expected to wrap up by October.
Work continues in District 8 on the Delhi Bypass project, the four-lane divided rural expressway from Godfrey. Earthwork has been completed from the beginning of the project through Delhi Road, including construction of the U.S. 67 connector.
Also, most of the drainage structures have been installed, including one large cast-in-place box culvert and a double 8-by-8 feet precast box culvert. Work has also been completed to allow traffic to use the new alignment of Delhi Road. One northbound lane has been paved and additional pavement work continues. The $18.6 million project is expected to be completed in late summer 2022.
Two more lettings for statewide construction projects are scheduled in 2021: Sept. 17 and Nov. 5. Here are some dates to note in advance of the Nov. 5 letting.
- Oct. 1 at 10 a.m. Transportation Bulletin release (Official advertisement of projects.)
- Oct. 15 at 4:30 p.m. Prequalification cutoff (Date that contractors must be qualified to bid on contracts.)
- Oct. 29 at 4:30 p.m. Joint venture cutoff (three contractor limit. Date for these groups who want to bid can do so.)
- Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m. Request for authorization to bid cutoff (Final date for contractors who are authorized to bid on contracts.)
- Nov. 5 at noon Letting (Bids can be submitted until 11:59 a.m. on the day. Bids are shut down at noon.)
If you are new to the IDOT bid letting process or need updated information, following are some helpful resources:
- Transportation Bulletin
- Letting Schedule
- Electronic Subscription Service
- Authorization to Bid
- Bid Bonds
IDOT offers free subscription email services to anyone interested in finding out more about construction projects and work zones, IDOT initiatives, important safety messages and more.
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TO MAKE WAY FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO CENTRAL TRI-STATE (I-294) TOLLWAY
Removal will allow construction of new lanes to reduce congestion and improve travel
The Illinois Tollway’s Hinsdale Oasis pavilion will close to the public today, September 13, in preparation for the anticipated removal of the over-the-road structures as part of the $4 billion Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project. The two adjoining fuel stations and convenience stores operated by 7-Eleven will remain open and continue to provide services for both northbound and southbound travelers along I-294.
The anticipated closure of the pavilion was initially announced in 2017 upon the expansion of the Move Illinois capital program to include the widening of the Central Tri-State Tollway. Removing the oasis will allow a fifth lane to be added in each direction as part of the Tollway project to reconstruct the roadway from Balmoral Avenue to 95th Street. The 2017 announcement also included the previously removed O’Hare Oasis over-the-road pavilion and bridge structure, which was removed in 2018 as part of the project.
The Central Tri-State Tollway is being reconstructed to provide congestion relief, update old infrastructure to meet current and future transportation demand and address regional needs as a part of the Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program. More than 220,000 vehicles use the Central Tri-State Tollway daily.
Information about the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project is available in the Projects section on the Tollway’s website at www.illinoistollway.com.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation today announced that the I-35W@94: Downtown to Crosstown project is complete, with all lanes and ramps expected to reopen by Friday evening, Sept. 10.
“To the residents of Minneapolis, the local businesses, and all Minnesotans who travel on I-35W and I-94, we want to say thank you for patience,” said MnDOT Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “From better pedestrian bridges and improved transit options to new E-ZPass lanes, new ramps and rebuilt bridges, this work will benefit everyone who lives, walks, bikes, uses transit or drives in the area – and with the help of our partners, this project finished on-time and on-budget.”
The four-year, $239 million project included partnerships with Hennepin County, city of Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Council.
Crews rebuilt 2.5 miles of freeway between 43rd Street and I-94; rebuilt and repaired bridges; added access from southbound I-35W to a rebuilt Lake Street, providing a connection to businesses; and added a ramp from northbound I-35W to 28th Street.
They also rebuilt the ramp from I-35W north to I-94 west, including a dedicated lane for motorists seeking to continue through the Lowry Tunnel.
Metro Transit built a transit station at 31st and Lake streets that is a centerpiece of the Orange Line bus service that launches later this year and will provide faster bus service into downtown Minneapolis.
A southbound E-ZPass lane has been added for vehicles with at least two occupants, motorcyclists and single-occupancy vehicles willing to pay for a more efficient drive during peak hours.
Walkers and bikers have improved paths and bridges, including new 24th and 40th street bridges that are wider and more accessible. The Green Crescent provides walking and biking access from Midtown Greenway and Lake Street and offers a beautiful green space for people to enjoy.
Crews replaced aging bridges at 26th Street, 38th Street and Franklin Avenue.
This marks the end of a process that started with planning two decades ago and involved input from many organizations, groups and neighborhoods.
Ames, Lunda and Shafer served as the contractors in a joint partnership.
The project started in August 2017.
For more details about the project, visit http://www.dot.state.mn.us/35w94/.
For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or dial 5-1-1.
Gov. Tony Evers’ plan supports job seekers, community health, families
Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary-designee Craig Thompson today praised Governor Tony Evers’ use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support transit in Milwaukee and Madison, a key to help families meet basic needs.
“Like all of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Madison rely on transit to provide the basic mobility that underpins our economy and quality of life,” Thompson said. “These systems took a hit during the pandemic, and I praise Gov. Evers’ decision to ensure that no part of our state is missing the funding that helps people get to work, visit family members or see a doctor.
“The number one barrier for job seekers is often transportation; making sure people have a way to get to work opens doors for workers and strengthens our communities. Healthy transit systems mean stronger neighborhoods, greater equity, and more economic opportunities.”
WisDOT podcast explores how work zones are evolving for safety
Envision a work zone in Wisconsin and you’ll likely picture orange barrels, heavy equipment and workers in hard hats. Technology may not come to mind, but it is playing an increasingly important role in keeping motorists and workers safe. In the latest episode of Transportation Connects Us, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) podcast, WisDOT engineers discuss the safety benefits of work zone technology, including:
Queue Warning Systems
Dynamic Late Merge System (zipper merge)
Modern work zone inspection equipment
Engineers also clarify common work zone driving questions and misconceptions
Statewide work zone operations engineer Erin Schwark explains why the state employs the Dynamic Late Merge System (zipper merge) in many work zones with lane closures and heavy congestion.
“I think we've all driven in work zones where you see the sign ahead that the left lane is closing and everyone merges to the right, and then you have cars flying by you in that adjacent lane. We're trying to reduce those speeds, those erratic maneuvers, and basically telling people that you can use both lanes up to that merge,” said Schwark.
Statewide work zone engineer Mike Seifert talks about the cameras and digital technology inspectors use to help keep work zones operating similarly across Wisconsin.
“We want to make sure that the work zones are consistent throughout the state. So that way, if a driver were to drive in a work zone in one part of the state and then they drive through a work zone in a different part of the state, they're going to know what to expect,” said Seifert.
The podcast ends with the engineers answering common work zone safety questions that every driver should know, like “Why do you close off a long stretch of roadway, when work is only being done in a short section?” You’ll have to listen to the podcast for the answer.
Transportation Connect Us is a podcast series produced by WisDOT which focuses on transportation safety, engineering, transportation investments and DMV topics. Download or subscribe wherever you find your podcasts.
The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that new signs will start appearing along interstate corridors, guiding motorists to charging stations for electric vehicles. The signs are part of a national effort to promote alternative fuels that will also spark economic activity in Illinois communities and follow Gov. JB Pritzker’s commitment to have 750,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
“My administration is committed to making Illinois a leader in a clean energy and economic opportunity, and I’m proud to take another step toward fulfilling that mission,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These new signs will allow electric vehicle owners to easily determine the location of the closest charging station, furthering the state’s mission to reduce air pollutants by expanding the use of low-emission vehicles.”
Nationwide, the Federal Highway Administration has designated 145,000 miles of interstate for promoting alternative fuels. In Illinois, Interstates 39, 55, 70, 74, 80, 90 and 94 were identified to take part. In the coming weeks, blue “Alternative Fuels Corridor” signs will be installed along each corridor.
Additional signs will be installed later in conjunction with IDOT’s blue sign program on exit ramps, providing directional information to charging stations as well as nearby gas stations, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions.
“Under the governor’s leadership, IDOT is working with federal, state and local partners to keep Illinois infrastructure ahead of the curve while making travel more efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “These signs will not only make longer trips easier and more convenient, but also give a boost to the many towns and businesses along our interstates.”
The first signs will show electric charging locations, but additional ones in the future will point out locations for compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen and propane fueling stations. More information on the federal effort to create alternative fuel corridors can be found here.
As warmer weather approaches, motorcycles are becoming a common sight. In an effort to advocate for a safe riding season, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police have joined forces to kick off the latest “Ride Smart” safety campaign, reminding motorcyclists to have their bikes safety-checked to make sure they’re in proper running condition, prepare their high-visibility clothing and take advantage of the free motorcycle training classes throughout the state.
“Motorcycles are on the road for just part of the year yet account for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities, said Cynthia Watters, IDOT’s bureau chief of Safety Programs and Engineering. “To keep everyone safe, we urge drivers and motorcyclists to share the road, be alert, and to always ride sober. Motorcyclists are at an increased risk of injury or death when involved in a crash, so it is imperative that all riders ‘Ride Smart’ this riding season.”
Motorcyclists need an M-Class endorsement and a valid driver’s license to legally ride in Illinois. Successful graduates of an IDOT training course (age 18 or over) are issued a completion card, waiving the M-Class testing requirement at an Illinois Secretary of State licensing facility.
To protect themselves, riders should always:
- Wear personal protective gear on every ride, including high-visibility (Hi-Viz) clothing.
- Use eye protection, gloves, jackets, pants, boots and a U.S. DOT-approved helmet
- Remember to “Don’t Drink & Ride”
Illinois has offered free motorcycle training of all skill and experience levels since the Cycle Rider Safety Training Program began in 1976. The program is funded through license and registration fees. For more information, visit StartSeeingMotorcycles.org.
“As more and more riders are getting ready for the season, we encourage riders to perform a thorough safety inspection on their motorcycle, often referred to as a T-CLOCKS inspection,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “After the bike is roadworthy, it’s time to dust off the rider skill set with a quality rider training. And once riders head out, it’s important everyone share the roadway and make good choices behind the wheel and handlebar as they interact with each other in traffic.”
Keep Us Alive Drive 45 is our commitment to keep workers and motorists safe in work zones. Each year, many people are killed in construction zone accidents, both commuters and workers. Please abide the posted speed limit in work zones. When workers are present, it's 45 M.P.H. - It's The Law.
Join us in our pledge to increase awareness and promote safe driving in our work zones by displaying an orange ribbon. Together we can make our roadways a safer place to commute and work. With your help, we can see to it that a construction zone is not an end zone.