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State and Local Officials Opens New Interchange Connecting I-57 and Tri-State Tollway

Deborah Bayliss | 10/30/2014, 11:33 a.m.
Ill. State Rep. Bob Rita (Dist.-28th) joined Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn and other state and local officials on Saturday for ...
L-R Ill. Rep. Al Riley (Dist.-38), Ill. Rep. Robert “Bob” Rita (Dist.-28th); Ill. Sen. Toi Hutchinson (Dist. 40th); U.S. Rep., Robin Kelly (Dist.-2nd); Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Rep., Bobby Rush (Dist.-1st) take part in ribbon cutting ceremony on Sat., Oct. 25, 2014, for the official opening of the new, first-ever, interchange connecting I-57 and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

Ill. State Rep. Bob Rita (Dist.-28th) joined Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn and other state and local officials on Saturday for the official opening of the new, first-ever, interchange connecting I-57 and the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

The new $719 million I-294/I-57 Interchange creates a long-awaited connection between two major interstates in the Chicago Southland and allows access from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294 and from southbound I-294 to southbound I-57. It also provides a new interchange at 147th Street.

“A new interchange at I-294 and I-57 is a major step in our mission to build a 21st century infrastructure across Illinois,” Gov. Quinn said. “Without proper infrastructure our economy cannot grow. This project will be a major boost for Chicago’s Southland, strengthen the business climate, create jobs and provide residents with safer, more efficient travel throughout the area.”

The new connection is also designed to relieve congestion on local routes, improve overall transportation throughout the region and is part of the Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $12 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future and is expected to serve more than 76,000 vehicles per day and provide direct freight access to Chicago’s south suburbs, according to the Illinois Tollway.

“The opening of this vital interchange will help residents and businesses in these local communities – particularly Harvey, Markham, Dixmoor and Posen – connect to our state’s world-class highway system so they can travel more easily to their jobs or ship the goods they produce across the country,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director, Kristi Lafleur said. “The Tollway has invested $1.6 billion in roadway projects in the Chicago Southland in recent years and we know there is still more work to do in this crucial region of the state.”

Rep. Rita, chairman of the Illinois House Tollway Oversight Committee, played a pivotal role in turning the project from an idea, into a reality. Rep. Rita pushed for early state funding for critical engineering work and for the management of the project, according to his spokesperson, Ryan Keith.

“Instead of focusing on the signs of struggle and frustration all of us deal with here, it’s time for a turnaround,” Rep. Rita said. “I look forward to seeing the jobs and businesses and opportunities we’ve talked about for so long become more than just talk. It’s an exciting time and we should all be hopeful for a better tomorrow.”

Drivers are expected to save 25 travel hours and $4 million a year in fuel from being able to more directly connect with I-294 and I-57

“I am glad to stand with Rep. Rita and my fellow Southland legislators for working to make this day happen,” said Rep. Anthony DeLuca (Dist.-80th), who as mayor for Chicago Heights helped support the project early on. “This is an important day and I look forward to seeing this region grow and prosper. I thank Rep. Rita for his leadership and everyone who helped with this important transportation initiative for this region and our state.”