Beams Installed at IL Mile Long Bridge


As part of the ongoing $4 billion Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) reconstruction project in Illinois, crews have begun rebuilding the area’s Mile Long Bridge.

While the project has been in the works since 2016, mainline construction didn’t kick off for the project until 2018.

Mile Long Bridge Project

Built in 1958, the Mile Long Bridge is actually 4,800 feet long and is reported by Tollway officials to carry traffic over two major railroads, the Des Plaines River, the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, the Illinois & Michigan Canaland various local roadways. The infrastructure was built using a mixture of concrete and steel beams.

According to reports, the bridge sees roughly 150,000 vehicles per day.

For the project, the Illinois Tri-State Tollway reports that two new bridges will be constructed, increasing the current four-lane capacity to five lanes in both directions, with inside shoulders serving as flex lanes for a variety of safety-related needs.

The side-by-side structures will both measure 4,800 feet long and have 27 spans and a reduced number of 26 piers to reduce environmental impacts on the waterways and industrial segments below. Currently, the existing structures have 106 piers.

The spans are slated to support roughly 600 beams of various lengths and, like the original structure, are slated to be made up of both steel and concrete.

Construction began on the northbound bridge in the summer of 2019 and is expected to continue throughout 2020. Once completed, demolition efforts are scheduled for the old structure, with concrete from the piers being recycled.

Over the winter months, concrete beams, each measuring as much as eight feet tall, 187 feet long and weighing 245,000 pounds began arriving onsite from Janesville, Wisconsin-based factory, County Materials Corp.

According to the factory’s Operations Manager, Gary Courneya, the beams are the heaviest ever produced or shipped in the Midwest.

Paul Kovacs, Chief Engineering Officer for the Tollway and Tollway Executive Director Jose Alvarez told the Chicago Tribune that the large beams are more environmentally friendly, cost efficient and will shorten construction time.

What’s Happening Now

Since receiving the concrete beams for the project, crews are now installing roughly 110 steel beams, which were delivered from an Indiana manufacturing plant. The beams measure 10 feet tall and range from 57 to 134 feet in length.

The beams are being installed over Forest Preserve property and the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal.

Construction and demolition efforts for the Mile Long Bridge project is scheduled through 2023. Once completed, the infrastructure is slated to last as long as 100 years.

The project is being coordinated with the Illinois Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Canadian National Railway, Cook County, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, DuPage Water Commission, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District UPS, along with local businesses and municipalities including Willow Springs, Hodgkins, Countryside, Burr Ridge, Justice and police and fire departments.

Permitting and coordination is also being conducted with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, IDNR Office of Water Resources and the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Roads/Highways; Transportation

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