COLLINSVILLE, Ill. ( -- Another major highway project is underway that will affect thousands of drivers in the Metro East and last several months. 

IDOT closed down parts of I-255 Saturday as part of a $64 million project. 

All lanes of I-255 in both directions are closed between I-64 and I-55/70 for approximately five months. IDOT said if they chose to only shutdown sections or lanes, instead of the whole portion of the interstate, the project would take four years. 

The project will be done in two parts and divided into north and south sections. The north section will close February 1 through about May or June then be reopened. Then the south section, between I-64 and Illinois Route 15, will be closed. In total, the project should take 10 months to complete.

“We’re basically taking 50 lane miles out of our responsibility, so roughly 1% of our routes are gone,” Joseph Monroe with IDOT said. “Take that 1% and spread it out on alternate routes to make sure they don’t choke up and get slowed down unnecessarily.”

IDOT suggests drivers don’t just rely on I-55/70 and I-64 as alternate routes. They also suggest using: Illinois Route 3, Illinois 15, Illinois 157, Illinois 158, Illinois 159, and Illinois 161. 

“While we are eager to start working on I-255, we need the public’s help to truly make this project a success,” Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “If you rely on I-255 or regularly drive in the nearby area, start thinking about other routes. Expect longer travel times, especially the first few days.”

IDOT said they will be monitoring traffic on the alternate routes to see what areas might be overloaded or areas that might be underutilized. Temporary traffic signals will also being stalled at three intersections along the detour routes.

This project is part of Gov. JB Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois capital campaign. IDOT called this stretch of interstate one of the state’s worst roadways. 

They said most of the pavement on the interstate dates back to the 1980s when the interstate was built.

For more on the project and detours, click here.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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