CHICAGO — 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, weather permitting.
The beams come from a County Materials factory in Janesville, Wis. They’re being used in the $4 billion rebuilding and re-widening of Interstate 294 near O’Hare International Airport.
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 the overnight hours, Tollway officials said.
By using concrete instead of steel, the beams will require less maintenance, said Paul Kovacs, chief engineering officer for the Tollway. He said they are also more environmentally friendly and more cost-efficient.
Tollway Executive Director Jose Alvarez said concrete beams will also help shorten construction time.
Officials said the project can be done without raising tolls and is expected to be completed in 2026.