Breaking News Bar
updated: 9/1/2014 2:49 PM

How do you build I-290 bridge with 80,000 cars a day?

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.

       The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.

       The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Despite some intermittent delays, work is being done on the bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange without significant disruption to the traffic that speeds by every day.

       Despite some intermittent delays, work is being done on the bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange without significant disruption to the traffic that speeds by every day.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.

       The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.

       The bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange is in full swing with the another section being added in October. The project is expected to be complete in 2017.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Despite some intermittent delays, work is being done on the bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange without significant disruption to traffic.

       Despite some intermittent delays, work is being done on the bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway interchange without significant disruption to traffic.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Crews continue to work on the bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway. Workers Mike Strange and Darnell Little work on the underbelly of the bridge expansion.

       Crews continue to work on the bridge expansion section over the I-290/Elgin-O'Hare Expressway. Workers Mike Strange and Darnell Little work on the underbelly of the bridge expansion.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 

By Matt Arado

The bridge-in-progress, now little more than girders resting on concrete, stretches out over a live roadway, looking from a distance like a child's half-finished Erector Set.

It's actually one part of the Illinois Tollway's expansive overhaul of the interchange at I-290 and the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway (now known as I-390). Tollway officials say the full project, when completed in 2017, will reduce travel times through that area by as much as 35 percent.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Building a bridge is a serious undertaking, especially when it's going up in an area that sees more than 80,000 vehicles drive through each day. Yes, the work is creating some traffic headaches, but even tired commuters are likely to wonder a bit when they drive by -- how do they do that?

Tollway officials, despite being immersed in the minutia of construction projects every day, say even they aren't immune to that feeling.

"When I think about how something like that gets built, with lots of traffic moving right through the area, yes, it's pretty mind-boggling," Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said.

Bridges are particularly challenging because they require intricate, and potentially dangerous, work to be done while cars whiz past below, officials said.

Think about those girders, for instance. Work crews use two cranes to lift each girder into the air and then lower it onto the frame of the bridge. The cranes don't release the girder until it has been bolted into place, officials said.

After the girders are in place, protective plywood shielding is installed between them. The shielding supports workers as they pour the concrete "floor" of the bridge.

The whole process requires only short, intermittent lane closures, Lafleur said.

"We do most of the work overnight to keep traffic interruption at a minimum," she said. "But of course, night work presents its own challenges, with lighting and visibility especially."

When the bridge is completed, it will be about 2,100 feet long, with the bridge surface 34 feet above grade at its highest point. The bridge will allow traffic to move freely from 1-290 to I-390, officials said. It is expected to open to traffic next summer.

The overall I-290 interchange project comprises a variety of other improvements, including multiple ramps, drainage and noise mitigation. Tollway officials say the entire project will cost about $440 million.

The interchange overhaul is a component of an even larger tollway project, the Elgin-O'Hare Western Access Project.

For information on these and other construction projects, go to illinoistollway.com.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here