- From an Illinois Tollway News Release -
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. – The final piece of the reconstruction and reconfiguration of the Cherry Valley Interchange on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) will be complete Friday, November 13, as the new ramp bridge carrying traffic from westbound I-90 to southbound I-39 opens to traffic bringing long-awaited congestion relief to the Rockford-area gateway. In conjunction with the completion of the interchange, work to open the additional mainline lanes on the newly rebuilt roadway will be completed on the remaining segment between the Cherry Valley Interchange and State Street before Thanksgiving.
The $89 million project to reconstruct and reconfigure the Cherry Valley Interchange at I-90/I-39 and the $180 million I-90 mainline Reconstruct & Widen Project are part of the Illinois Tollway’s $6.3 billion Congestion-Relief Program – Open Roads for a Faster Future – and are being delivered on schedule and within budget. Three new lanes of pavement have been constructed in both directions in the 16-mile section of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway between the Cherry Valley Interchange (I-90/I-39) and Rockton Road and the Cherry Valley Interchange has been reconstructed and reconfigured to eliminate congestion and travel delays that have inconvenienced commercial truck traffic and weekend leisure travelers for decades.
“The completion of these projects brings major congestion relief and improved mobility to the Rockford area,” said Carl Towns, member of the Tollway Board of Directors and a Rockford resident. “Commercial truck traffic will be able to travel this corridor without worrying about traffic backups that were common in the past, benefitting commerce as well as tourism.”
Cherry Valley Interchange Project Ends Decades of Backups
The new westbound I-90 ramp to southbound I-39 at the Cherry Valley Interchange is scheduled to open by 4 p.m. on Friday, November 13. Traffic will no longer need to use the Irene Road exit ramp detour to access southbound I-39 and U.S. 20. However, the ramp will remain open providing drivers access to Irene Road from westbound I-90; there is no entrance ramp at this location.
Completion of the Cherry Valley Interchange improvements will allow faster, safer, and more efficient travel through an area that has historically been known for its traffic congestion. Work to reconstruct and reconfigure the interchange included reconstruction of the ramps from eastbound I-90 to southbound I-39, from northbound I-39 to eastbound I-90, from southbound I-39 to westbound Harrison Avenue, and on the ramp from westbound U.S. 20 to northbound I-39. The Newburg Road Bridge over I-90 also was rebuilt and lengthened to accommodate the reconfiguration of the interchange.
The Illinois Tollway eliminated toll collection southbound in 2003 and northbound in 2004 at the Cherry Valley Interchange and in 2008 began work to rebuild the interchange as part of the Congestion-Relief Program to allow faster, safer, and more efficient travel through an area that historically has been known for its traffic congestion. Built in 1972, the Cherry Valley Interchange originally saw 4,000 vehicles per day pass through. Today the interchange serves more than 35,000 vehicles on an average day – 30 percent are trucks – and in the summertime, the number of travelers increases by 25 percent.
Reconstruct & Widen Work Complete
The new third lane in each direction from Newburg Road to East State Street also is scheduled to open with the completion of the Cherry Valley Interchange. The newly reconstructed and widened roadway will open as part of the Reconstruct & Widen Project from Newburg Road to Rockton Road. The section from East State Street to Rockton Road opened in late October.
Illinois Tollway Delivers on $270 Million Commitment
The Illinois Tollway has invested nearly $270 million along a 16-mile corridor of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) from the Cherry Valley Interchange to Rockton Road. Completion of the projects provides congestion relief throughout the corridor by replacing the existing 50-year-old pavement and expanding the roadway from two to three lanes in each direction, improving safety and mobility throughout the corridor.
The corridor is known for heavy volumes of weekend travel from summer through fall and carries the highest percentage of commercial truck traffic on the Tollway’s 286-mile system. Average daily traffic volumes along the stretch have grown from a high of about 18,000 vehicles a day in 1980 to a high of more than 53,000 vehicles daily in 2008.
During completion of the roadway and interchange projects, more than 54,000 cubic yards of concrete, 795,000 tons of asphalt, 583,600 pounds of structural steel and more than 1.38 million cubic yards of earth were moved to reconstruct and reconfigure the interchange. On an average day, between 200 and 250 workers, including engineers, consultants, and construction workers were working on the project.
Part of Tollway’s Congestion-Relief Program
The reconstruction and widening of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Cherry Valley Interchange improvements are part of the Illinois Tollway’s Congestion-Relief Program - Open Roads for a Faster Future, which will reduce travel times by rebuilding/restoring nearly all of the system, widening/adding lanes to many miles of existing roads, converting 20 mainline toll plazas to barrier-free Open Road Tolling, and extending I-355 south to I-80 in Will County.