A six year long project is finally winding down in Effingham. Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn announced the completion of the I-57/70 project that runs through Effingham Tuesday morning along with local officials and law enforcement. The 167 million dollar project rebuilt the I-57/70 interchange and added a third lane in each direction. The project began in 2010 and was completed without ever totally shutting down traffic. Some 20,000 freight trucks pass though the interchange on a daily basis. Transportation Secretary Blankenhorn said that there is a strong connection between good roads and area growth.
The location was selected for a major upgrade due to its location, but also the high volume of truck traffic and safety issues. Around 6-700,000 man-hours went into the construction. IDOT Construction Engineer for the project Bob Utz, said the main challenge of the project was keeping at least two lanes of traffic opened throughout construction.
Effingham Mayor Jeff Bloemker said the project would be beneficial for the city, particularly when attracting new business to the area. According to him, the completion of the project would help re-energize the efforts of pitching the city.
There is still minor work that needs to be completed that includes restriping lanes, completing traffic signal installation, finishing work on the turn lanes on U.S. 45, and landscaping. IDOT Officals said that traffic impact would be minimal