Walsh Construction celebrates completion of southbound I-294 Mile Long Bridge
Willow Springs, IL - Walsh Construction joined the Illinois Tollway for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in advance of the new southbound I-294 Mile Long Bridge opening to traffic.
"Opening the new southbound Mile Long Bridge structure to traffic is a significant milestone in our work to rebuild and widen the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) between 95th Street and Balmoral Avenue, and is due thanks to the hard work of our contractors, engineers and material providers," said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse. "Replacing bridges, including the Mile Long Bridge structures, throughout the 22-mile corridor will allow us to deliver the new and improved roadway on schedule to our customers."
The Tollway will begin work to open the new bridge to southbound traffic with traffic impacts beginning as early as the evening of Tuesday, October 11, and anticipated four lanes of open on the new bridge before the evening commute on Wednesday, October 12, weather permitting.
The Mile Long Bridge Project replaces the original bridge built in 1958. Walsh began to construct the new southbound Mile Long Bridge in spring 2021. After the opening of the new southbound structure, Walsh Construction will remove the old southbound bridge structure, an operation that is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2023.
The Mile Long Bridge carries traffic over two major railroads, the Des Plaines River, the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal and the Illinois & Michigan Canal and local roads, and over several major distribution centers. Currently, up to 150,000 vehicles travel across the Mile Long Bridge daily.
The southbound structure measures 4,800-feet-long and is designed to last 100 years and increases capacity to five lanes. The inside shoulder will be built to serve as Flex Lanes for transit, for emergency vehicles and as an alternate lane when warranted.
Facts about the new southbound Mile Long Bridge:
- The bridge features 27 spans supported by 26 piers, compared to the existing structure with 53 piers, reducing the impact on waterways, roadway and rail operations below.
- The bridge deck is supported by 250 precast concrete beams and 52 steel beams. Steel beams, measure up to 10 feet tall and range in length from 39 feet to 234 feet long were transported from Indiana and concrete beams measure up to 7.5 feet tall and are up to 187 feet long, were transported from Wisconsin.
- Nearly 34,000 cubic yards of concrete were used for the new bridge – an amount equal to more than 3,700 fully-loaded concrete-mixing trucks.
- The bridge deck includes nearly 7 million pounds of steel rebar.
“The reopening of the Mile Long Bridge is a testament to the hard work of the people who made the timely completion of this project a reality,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Replacing outdated bridges throughout the state is a cornerstone of my administration’s infrastructure revitalization goal and I could not be more proud to see this portion of the Move Illinois program come to fruition.”