Year-long construction planned for I-57 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Year-long construction planned for I-57

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WILLIAMSON CO., Ill. -- This week's arrival of spring means construction season will soon ramp up, and the Illinois Department of Transportation expects a busy year. 

Road crews will begin expanding Interstate 57 in Franklin and Williamson counties to three lanes. IDOT officials say after this year-long project, I-57 will be safer. 

Drivers can expect to see more state troopers on Interstate 57. Captain Derek Wise with Illinois State Police says they'll be watching for distracted driving and speeding through work zones. 

"The minimum fine for a first offense of speeding in the work zone is a mandatory court appearance, at a cost of a day's work, and a minimum fine of $375," said Capt. Wise. 

The extra enforcement will help keep road crews safe as they work to expand 4.4 miles of I-57 in both directions between the Johnston City exit and the West Frankfort exit. 

IDOT Construction Engineer Doug Helfrich explained lane closures will not be allowed during peak driving hours. 

"These closures will occur at 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., depending on direction of travel and day of week," said Helfrich. 

But Helfich added, that doesn't mean drivers will not encounter construction during the day.

"Travelers will encounter lane shifts, shoulder drop-offs, construction vehicles and equipment," said Helfrich. 

This project will begin in just two weeks and will last for more than a year. Senator Dale Fowler says the inconvenience and wait will be worth it. 

"These projects take time, but it's going to be so vital to the economic development and the opportunities for southern Illinois," said Senator Fowler. 

Local legislators, Illinois State Police, and IDOT officials agree this expansion will make traveling I-57 safer. Vehicles will have more room, meaning traffic will flow more smoothly. 

According to IDOT around 43,000 vehicles travel that stretch of I-57 each day. 

There are additional projects planned for I-57, including bridge replacements near Ina and resurfacing projects in Franklin and Jefferson counties. 

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