BENTON, IL (WEHT) – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation today were joined by local officials and community leaders to announce the next phase of the Interstate 57 widening through Southern Illinois, another cornerstone project of the governor’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital program.
The latest improvements are part of $268 million being advanced through Rebuild Illinois to fix and improve I-57 in the region, improving safety and mobility while creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs.
“Today I’m proud to announce the most significant investment in I-57 since its original development. This major upgrade comes after we’ve already completed a successful, six-lane expansion along the Johnson City stretch of I-57 in 2020 and launched the ongoing West Frankfort renovations,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Thanks to Rebuild Illinois, we’re unlocking the federal funding necessary to take this from a four to a six-lane highway – enhancing safety, creating jobs, improving the reliability of the freight network, and supporting the economic development potential of the region.”
In Southern Illinois, I-57 is part of the National Highway Freight Network, carrying more than 40,000 vehicles a day, 14,000 of which are trucks. The I-57 improvements made possible by Rebuild Illinois will add a third lane in each direction along one of the country’s critical freight and travel corridors that no longer meets current traffic volumes and demands.
A $67.6 million project starting next month will expand nine miles of I-57 to six lanes from north of Illinois 149 to south of Illinois 154, installing median barrier, resurfacing the existing lanes, updating deficient guardrail, and adding rumble strips. The bridges over the Big Muddy River will be replaced. Two lanes will remain open during construction as much as possible, with overnight lane closures until the project wraps up in 2025.
“The I-57 corridor is one of the most important in our system, but it’s prone to backups and congestion that can spill over into neighboring communities,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “Under Gov. Pritzker, we are transforming I-57 to accommodate 21st century transportation, as we are doing throughout Southern Illinois and the entire state.”