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March 14, 2000

Ryan Launches Work To Eliminate "Hillside Strangler"

HILLSIDE -- Governor George H. Ryan broke ground today to launch a two-year Illinois FIRST effort to unsnarl one of the nation's worst traffic nightmares, the so-called "Hillside Strangler."

Ryan, turning over a shovel of dirt, kicked off work on the $97.5 million project along Harrison Street, near the Eisenhower Expressway.

"Today we're keeping a commitment I made during the campaign to untangle the Strangler, help reduce congestion and improve our transportation infrastructure. This is one of the most visible projects among the hundreds of Illinois FIRST projects throughout the state that will benefit motorists," Ryan said.

"Last year, in one of my first acts as Governor, I directed the Department of Transportation to make the Strangler their top priority for this area and to put the project on an accelerated schedule. We have done that, cutting the engineering construction time by more than half."

The Hillside Strangler has been listed as one of the worst areas in the nation. The choke point results from the merger of the East-West Tollway and ramps from the Tri-State Tollway and Roosevelt Road into basically a one-lane entrance to the Eisenhower Expressway west of Mannheim Road.

About 80,000 vehicles pass through the bottleneck daily, resulting in marked congestion for about 14 hours each day.

The one-mile trip between the York Road Toll Plaza on the East-West Tollway to the Eisenhower currently takes between 20 and 30 minutes. Once the project is completed, this travel time is expected to be reduced to three or four minutes, barring traffic incidents or bad weather.

Despite the major work in the metropolitan Chicago area, no closure of lanes is expected on the Eisenhower in 2000. The bulk of the first year's work in the $97.5 million project will be directed to the widening of Roosevelt and Mannheim Roads.

Lane closures are expected to occur on the Eisenhower during the 2001 construction season.

Among results of the two-year project will be:

  • Doubling the number of access lanes from the East-West and Tri-State tollways to the Eisenhower.
  • Construction of a two-lane "collector-distributor road" built alongside the Eisenhower to move traffic headed to Mannheim Road directly there, avoiding the need for cars and trucks to merge onto, and then weave across, the mainline of the Eisenhower.
  • Widening of Roosevelt Road from the Tri-State to Mannheim Road and Mannheim Road from Roosevelt Road to the Eisenhower.
  • Widening of the Illinois Central Railroad and Darmstadt Road bridges over the East-West Tollway ramps to the Eisenhower.

Contracts involved in this year's work include $13,375,492 to Ganna Construction of Itasca for the widening of Roosevelt and Mannheim; $15,589,449 to Walsh Construction of Chicago for the construction of a new bridge on Mannheim over the Eisenhower; and $5,260,892 to F.H. Paschen and S.N. Nielsen of DesPlaines for construction of the railroad and Darmstadt bridges.


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