GLEN CARBON - Upcoming construction near Glen Carbon will affect traffic on Illinois 162 and Illinois 157, but the Illinois Department of Transportation’s plans for traffic management have been generally well-received.

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The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) hosted a meeting last month to speak with residents about the construction and how it will affect traffic. Cheryl Keplar, a project engineer with IDOT, said the meeting drew over 150 people and went “very well.”

IDOT recently released a statement detailing the construction plans.

“The project involves the realignment of the west leg of Illinois 162 to tie in with the east leg of Illinois 162 at a proposed traffic signal, thus eliminating the offset intersections of Illinois 162 with stop control,” the statement read. “The project also involves reconstruction of the bridge that carries Illinois 157 over Judy’s Branch, construction of a new bridge to carry Illinois 162 over Judy’s Branch and construction of a pedestrian bridge parallel to Illinois 157 over Judy’s Branch.”

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The letting stage of this project is expected to begin in Spring 2024. Construction will start soon after this period is completed, once IDOT has accepted bids. Last month’s meeting aimed to inform residents of the project and traffic plans.

“The primary purpose of the meeting was to give information to the public that we had decided to go ahead and close down the intersection for the construction work rather than the staging option that was previously presented,” Keplar explained. “I think probably the vast majority of the people were very well on board with the full closure option.”

The staging option incorporates road design drawings to show where a traffic lane is supposed to be on a construction site. This helps guide cars through the site, usually at a reduced speed.

Keplar said the decision to close the intersection was a matter of worker safety as well as time and cost savings. The construction with a full closure is estimated to take 12–18 months, while construction with staging would stretch to 42–48 months. The shorter timeframe will also save up to $2 million.

“And honestly, if it was staged, I think most people would realize that the traffic backup due to the temporary signal and the limited capacity that could go through the intersection during the staging portion of it [would be inconvenient.] I think a lot of people would ultimately have found another way,” Keplar added.

This local construction is a part of the state’s Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, which outlines infrastructure projects across the region. This is one of 18 major IDOT projects through Rebuild Illinois in the Metro East area, all of which are expected to be completed by 2027.

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