Illinois Department of Transportation – Faster, Cheaper, Safer: Remaking I-255 in Metro East

For almost 40 years, I-255 in Metro East ranked as one of the worst roads in the state. To change that, the Illinois Department of Transportation embarked on a $67 million rehabilitation effort that improved its safety – including bridge repairs, resurfacing, better highway lighting, and upgrades to guardrail, safety improvements and drainage enhancements. The department also deployed different technologies to complete the project, such as drones, traffic counters, and traffic reporting services to monitor and evaluate travel times, problem spots and traffic volumes. In addition, the department used employee knowledge to come up with the best solutions. This information helped the district provide valuable feedback to the public regarding underutilized alternate routes, saving time and money and while completing the project ahead of schedule.  The traffic backups anticipated at the project’s outset never materialized, partly because of the drop in traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic but also in large part due to the department’s proactive planning.