EFFINGHAM, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced that a portion of I-70 will begin reconstruction on March 6.

The project will happen east of the interchange with I-57 and extend to the Cumberland and Effingham County line, located east of Montrose. IDOT said the 7-mile project costs $50 million and is expected to continue through the 2023 construction season.

Initially, IDOT said lane closures will occur in the westbound lanes during daytime hours for various operations including patching, striping, and guardrail updates. After that work has been completed, barrier walls will be built with median crossovers, and all eastbound traffic will be diverted to the left westbound lane.

IDOT said the eastbound bridge over the Montrose Blacktop will also be replaced. The eastbound Montrose on- and off-ramps will be closed while the crossovers are being utilized, and there will be a marked state route detour. Construction on the I-70 westbound lanes and the replacement of the westbound bridge over the Montrose Blacktop are scheduled to happen during the 2024 construction season.

On Feb. 15, IDOT hosted an informational meeting for emergency services and first responders
to discuss the scope of work and emergency responses in preparation for the project. IDOT said highlighted safety features will include emergency shoulder pull-offs, message boards indicating when traffic has slowed or stopped, and several access points for first responders.

All drivers in the work area should expect delays and allow extra time for trips through this area. IDOT advises everyone to avoid the area and use alternate routes. Drivers are also urged to pay close attention to changed conditions and signs in the work zones, reduce and maintain the
posted speed limits, refrain from using mobile devices, and be alert for workers and equipment.

IDOT plans to improve more than 2,500 miles of highway and nearly 10 million square feet of the bridge deck as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital program, investing $33.2 billion into all modes of transportation over the next six years. Accomplishments through Year Three of Rebuild Illinois included approximately $8.6 billion of improvements statewide on 4,422 miles of highway, 412 bridges, and 621 additional safety improvements.