Truck drivers glad to learn of grant to improve part of I-57

MARION, IL – Your drive along part of a major interstate highway in our area will become a lot safer thanks to grant money awarded for improvements.

The Illinois State Police says Interstate 57 saw 25 deadly crashes in the past two years. A $7.6 million federal grant was announced this week to  make improvements a 5-mile stretch of that highway between Johnston City and Mount Vernon, Illinois.

Timothy Hartley has been driving a tractor-trailer for two years.  He said he’s seen a lot happen on I-57.

“There’s been some bad things. I’ve seen trucks flipped over and everything,” said Hartley.

It will help pay to add a new lane in each direction, resurface existing lanes, and add new pavement markings, as well as rumble strips, guardrails and median barriers.

“It gives us more room to work. A lot of people don’t realize that, with 18-wheelers, it’s hard to stop on a dime. We need more room to work. So adding more lanes will be very helpful for us,” said Hartley.

Anthony Owens has been driving trucks for 15 years. He is co-owner of Williams and Williams Transportation. He drives on I-57  six to seven times a week. He said an investment in the roads is an investment in trucking companies.

“We can get the commodity and stuff there safely, and plus it doesn’t tear up our trucks,” said Owens.

A big project like this means there will be construction.

“Just dealing with the construction part in the process might be a little bit tricky, but I’m sure it will pay off in the long run,” said Hartley.

The total estimated cost of construction is $12.7 million. ISP says the state will match the rest of the cost. Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2019 and end in late 2020.

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