IL Bridge Painting Kicks Off After Weather Delays

TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2024


A $1.103 million painting project to refurbish seven bridges in Jacksonville, Illinois, on Interstate 72 is officially underway after wet weather pushed the work back.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, the steel structures will be abrasive blast-cleaned to remove all old paint and rust. A new coating system will then be applied to preserve and prevent corrosion on the bridges.

About the Project

Work was originally anticipated to begin on April 29. However, heavy rains in the area forced the work to be postponed until this month, Todd Johnson, a Supervising Engineer for IDOT, told the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.

“Work on the bridge will proceed in four stages: blasting; putting on a protective coating of zinc; epoxy, which is a primer; and then the final coat of paint,” Johnson said.

Of the seven bridges, three are reportedly getting the full treatment with blasting and coating from end to end. For two of the bridges, partial treatment will include blasting and coating starting from the underside of the bridge to 10 feet out, as well as the faces of the bridge.

However, the other two bridges will only get treatment starting from the underside of the bridge to 10 feet out.

“Our district has been getting these structures in shape, but it takes time to get them all in,” Johnson said. “Some of them are in better shape than others.”

Johnson told the Journal-Courier that the work is scheduled to be completed in mid-November. Lansing, Illinois-based painting contractor Eagle Painting and Maintenance Company will reportedly perform the blasting and coating work.

“They have 110 working days to complete it, which if everything is perfect, would be early October, but there are a lot of factors that work into when they can work, including weather. They can work in the rain, but if there are storms, they cannot,” Johnson noted.

The worksites have reportedly been wrapped with a protective containment system to protect the surrounding environment from debris. IDOT has also reportedly implemented traffic control measures to maintain a safe work site.

“Safety is of utmost importance to us. There will be [an Illinois State Police] trooper on site much of the time to watch for speeders. We want everyone to be able to go home safely each night,” Johnson said.

IDOT reports that, over the next six years, the department is planning to improve more than 3,000 miles of highway and nearly 10 million square feet of bridge deck as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program.

Other Rebuild Illinois Bridge Work

According to IDOT, Illinois, the sixth largest state in the U.S., is the "transportation hub of the nation." However, it has not had a comprehensive, multi-year capital plan since 2009 and its overall infrastructure has a C- rating. Currently, 74% of Illinois roads and 86% of bridges are rated as acceptable.

Rebuilding Illinois will reportedly invest $44.8 billion over six years, with $33.2 billion of that amount allocated to transportation, and supporting an estimated 540,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs throughout the life of the six-year Rebuild Illinois plan.

In total, the program includes:

  • $25.4 billion for Illinois’ roads and bridges;
  • $1.4 billion for major rail projects and added Grade Crossing Protection projects;
  • $150 million for aeronautic facility improvements; and
  • $150 million in new funding for port improvements.

Additionally, the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act is expected to introduce another $17.8 billion into infrastructure projects funded by Rebuild Illinois.

Last month, as part of the program, a new $17 million bridge on Interstate 55 over Lemont Road in Illinois was completed by IHC Construction Companies, with hopes to improve safety and traffic flow. Work also included reconstructed ramps, as well as new lighting and storm sewers.

“Stretching from Chicago to St. Louis, the I-55 corridor is one of the pillars of our interstate system and connects towns and communities up and down the state,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman.

“These improvements fueled by Rebuild Illinois will not only enhance quality of life while improving safety and mobility in one part of the state, but they will also serve to strengthen our position as the country’s transportation hub.”

Other ongoing projects through Rebuild Illinois include:

  • I-55 over Illinois 53 and Joilet Road: The $18 million project consists of replacing the existing I-55 bridges over Illinois 53 and Joliet Road with new wider structures, new deck overlays and approaches, resurfacing and new lighting. Work over Illinois 53 is anticipated to be completed later this spring, with Joliet Road later this fall.
  • I-55 at Illinois 59 and at U.S. 52 (Jefferson Street): The $80 million project consists of converting the existing interchange at I-55 and Illinois 59 into a full-access, diverging-diamond design to improve safety and traffic flow, with the East Frontage Road relocated and reconstructed. Construction is anticipated to be completed in late fall. A previous effort completed $9 million in advance work.
   

Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Blasting; Bridges; Bridges; Containment; Environmental Protection; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Maintenance coating work; Maintenance programs; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Protective coatings; Protective Coatings; Surface preparation

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