I-294 & I-57 Interchange Effort Ramped Up

Project to connect interstates could begin this summer

By Jenel Nels
|  Monday, Mar 1, 2010  |  Updated 7:42 AM CDT
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From neutral to reverse to  first gear, plans  to link the Tri-State Tollway and Interstate 57 appear to once again be in overdrive.

The Illinois Department of Transportation expects to begin construction of a new interchange linking the roadways sometime this summer.

“There’s no reason these two interstates shouldn’t have been connected when they were built,” said Jim Roolf, a tollway board member to the Chicago Tribune.

The idea to build a junction near 149th and Kedzie streets begain in 1993, but has been dogged by funding issues. Construction nearly got off the ground two years ago under Rod Blagojevich, but Governor Pat Quinn canceled the plans after taking over the office.

It would save southbound drivers from detouring to Interstate 80 or other side streets to get from one interstate to the other.

A lack of cash still remains major roadblock to the junction plan.

Early estimates put the cost at about $570 million, but right now, only about $116 million is earmarked for the project. The tollway lost out to the railway in its bid for stimulus funds to make up the difference, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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