Work slated to begin on busy interchange


Kendall Downing

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. — The work's been under way since 2009 to expand Illinois Route 13 in Williamson County from Carterville to Marion by making the road three lanes in both directions.

Lots of smaller projects have been going on since that time. Now, IDOT crews are ready to redesign a major intersection in the region and they're wanting to let drivers know change is coming.

"Change is different. People aren't used to it," said Cody Dunbar, of Marion.

For locals like Cody Dunbar, road construction's changed the area. And it's become a part of every day life.

"It's a lot different than it used to be when I was little," said Dunbar.

But signs now warn drivers there's even more work on the way. Crews will start making the first changes to the Interstate 57/Illinois Route 13 interchange April 9.

"We do off-peak work anticipating the traffic volumes being a lot lower and not anticipating delays or inconvenience," said Keith Roberts with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The work will begin on the shoulders of the road and gradually grow, a process that will take months. Workers will begin setting up temporary pavement so they can implement lane shifts.

"Anytime we go to do construction and reduce those lanes it makes it even worse on the traffic," said Roberts.

Roberts said we are still a couple of years away from the finished product on Route 13. But the warm weather this year kept lots of work on schedule.

Locals like Cody Dunbar agreed the growth is a good thing. But he's holding off on the last word until the last barrel rolls off the highway.

"It's going to get traffic through a little easier, so hopefully I think it will be better. I'm going to wait and see," said Dunbar.

And if you're planning a trip to St.Louis, Missouri soon, another major construction project is underway in Jefferson County, Illinois.

Crews are widening parts of Interstate 57 to three lanes. Because of the work, only one lane of traffic can pass through.

IDOT reports traffic backups there of up to ten miles over this past weekend. That work is expected to continue through November.