CHICAGO (AP) — Massive concrete beams destined for the Mile Long Bridge along the Tri-State Tollway’s heaviest-traveled section are getting police escorts from a Wisconsin factory to a tollway plaza in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.
Transport trucks hauling the 187-foot-long beams, each weighing 245,000 pounds, will be traveling this month between 4:30 a.m. and noon on weekdays, as long as the weather is good.
The beams come from a County Materials factory in Janesville, Wisconsin. They’re being used in the ongoing $4 billion reconstruction and re-widening of Interstate 294 near O’Hare International Airport, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The trucks transporting the beams will be parked along I-294 near the 83rd Street Toll Plaza during the day, and the beams will be installed as part of the rebuilt Mile Long Bridge during overnight hours, according to Tollway officials.
Being made out concrete instead of steel, the beams will require relatively little maintenance, said Paul Kovacs, chief engineering officer for the Tollway. He said concrete is also better for the environment and cheaper than steel.
Tollway Executive Director Jose Alvarez said the use of concrete beams will also help shorten construction time. Officials said the project can be completed without raising tolls and is expected to be completed in 2026.