VIDEO: Intersection reconstruction to run through 2014
By Ted Schnell • BocaJump
| Jan. 10, 2012
Right now, a big pile of black earth sits between Weld Road and U.S. 20 immediately west of McLean Boulevard. Come spring, expect construction crews to swarm over the area. Oh, and they're going to stay awhile.
If you think traffic there can get bad now, consider this: The area will be a construction zone through the fall of 2014.
Illinois Department of Transportation Communications Manager Guy Tridgell said Monday work is expected to commence this spring on a massive, $40.6 million reconstruction of that intersection from its diamond configuration to one that highway officials and planners call a single-point urban interchange – also referred to as an SPUI. The work won’t be completed until 2013.
Replacing the diamond configuration with an SPUI is intended to alleviate the traffic congestion that has increased steadily there over the years. The spot is a hub where vehicles exit Route 20 from the east and the west to access northbound and southbound McLean, even as some drivers on McLean are getting onto U.S. 20.
Once the preliminary work is complete, the reconstruction of the U.S. 20/McLean interchange will begin. The intent is to simplify how traffic flows through the interchange. (Story continues below video.)
The diamond configuration involves two immediate sets of traffic lights — at Weld Road, immediately south of 20, and at the westbound 20 exit ramp immediately north of the highway overpass. Also entering the traffic picture are a third set of lights at Lillian and McLean to the north, and a fourth at Fleetwood Drive and McLean to the south.
The new SPUI configuration will eliminate some of the traffic lights, as well as widen McLean.
Some initial work began in late fall. Plote Construction Inc., of Hoffman Estates, is the prime contractor on the preliminary $9.8 million phase of the project, scheduled to end in the fall 2012.
According to IDOT, this phase of the project involves installing two concrete retaining walls along U.S. 20 and temporarily widening the highway over McLean to accommodate traffic during the larger interchange reconstruction project in late 2012 and through the fall of 2014. The Shepard Drive intersection with Weld Road will be realigned to eliminate the sharp curve. The intersection of Shepard and Fleetwood drives will be reconstructed and widened.
The work will require occasional lane closures during the day on U.S. 20, Shepard, Fleetwood and Weld, with possible intermittent overnight lane closures on McLean Boulevard and U.S. 20. Work will take place through the winter, weather permitting, IDOT said.
Once that work is complete, the $30.8 million intersection reconstruction is scheduled to get under way, according to IDOT. The project will replace and widen U.S. 20 over McLean and convert diamond configuration into the SPUI. IDOT says the project will bring improved traffic signals, street lighting, along with bike paths and sidewalks.
Other elements of the project include:
- Adding two exit ramps on eastbound Route 20 to facilitate and enhance exiting on to McLean.
- Reconstruction and widening of McLean Boulevard to a four-lane, divided roadway from south of Fleetwood Drive to north of Lillian Street, with turn lanes at all major intersections.
- Reconstruction and widening of the Fleetwood Drive intersection.
- Modernizing and synchronizing traffic signals at Fleetwood Drive, Route 20 ramps with McLean Boulevard, and Lillian Street to enhance traffic flow.
- The addition of shared bike path on both sides of McLean Boulevard.