CHAMPAIGN — Northbound Interstate 57 will be closed overnight for the next week at the Interstate 74 interchange as workers erect structural steel for a new ramp that crosses over it.
Ken Crawford, project implementation engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation, said the overnight closures this week will allow crews to work on the ramp that will carry eastbound I-74 to southbound I-57 as part of the interchange redevelopment.
“That process will be ongoing for the next week or so,” Crawford said. “They begin at 9 at night through about 6 in the morning.”
Rain is forecast through the weekend. Crawford said that might affect the steel-placement work.
“It’s not safe to be in a cherry picker when it’s raining,” he said. “I don’t see them working in the rain.”
During the closures, northbound I-57 traffic will be detoured off the highway at Curtis Road.
Crawford likens the work to putting together a puzzle.
“It’s very tedious,” he said. “The ironworkers are really good at erecting structural steel. Those splices require several bolts that require tightening so they can get the load transferred properly from beam to beam.
“They’ll continue setting structural steel. Getting the flyovers completed is their controlling task so we can start closing some of the other ramps and put those flyovers in service,” Crawford said.
In other work on the interchange, crews have been pouring the concrete cloverleaf ramp from southbound I-57 to eastbound I-74, in the southwest quadrant of the project.
Also, crews continue to place embankments, a project that Crawford said will continue “hopefully through November into December.”
Open Road Paving is also adding asphalt for a third lane for eastbound I-74 west of the interchange.
“They’ll work in the eastbound direction and then work in the westbound direction” heading toward Mahomet, Crawford said.