Full Opening of I-57/I-294 Interchange a Dream Come True for the Southland According to State Rep. Bob Rita

Full Opening of I-57/I-294 Interchange a Dream Come True for the Southland According to State Rep. Bob Rita

Full Opening of I-57/I-294 Interchange a Dream Come True for the Southland According to State Rep. Bob Rita (Blue Island, IL) – Before the first plans were drawn, the first measurements made, the first concrete poured, State Rep. Bob Rita believed this day would come. Now it’s a dream come true as a critical interchange of highways is fully open and serving the Southland.

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Patricia Bonk for State Rep

Rita, D-Blue Island, joined officials with the Illinois Toll Highway Authority on Friday, Sept. 9, to celebrate the opening of the final connection between Interstate 57 and Interstate 294, providing the pathway for commerce and travel Rita and many others in the south suburbs worked on for decades. The interchange officially fully opened over this past weekend.

Rita served as Chairman of the Illinois House Tollway Oversight Committee during the years that proved essential to turning the long-discussed project into a reality. He brought together local mayors with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Tollway to work through coordination and logistical challenges. He held public hearings to discuss project details and hold officials accountable to working through problems and meeting deadlines.

The Crossing of the Two Interstates

The two interstates crossing each other south of Blue Island slowed progress and economic development in the Southland for decades because travelers could not easily connect between them. That started to change in 2014, when Rita joined state and local officials to announce the first phase of the $700 million I-57 and 294 connection project was finally opening.

The value of the newly connected interstates became clear almost immediately, with Amazon locating major warehouses and other facilities not far from the interchange and other business growth on the way throughout the region.

In the latest phase that opened over the weekend, new ramps are open to allow travelers to cleanly move in both north and south directions in both directions from 57 and 294 along with new ramps connecting the Tri-State Tollway to 147th Street. The project was finished ahead of its originally scheduled timeframe of next year. Construction originally began on the interchange in 2012.

Rita said he could not be prouder to see the end result of such a major project for the region.

“We worked tirelessly for years to bring people together, because we knew the potential for connecting these roadways would change the region for the better,” Rita said. “This is our Field of Dreams moment, where if we build it, they will come. Every time we drive these interstates and cross the interchange, we will know the connections we have made are worth the years and hard work it took to get here.”

Full Opening of I-57/I-294 Interchange a Dream Come True for the Southland According to State Rep. Bob Rita

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Monica Gordon for Cook County Commissioner

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