I-270 Over the Mississippi River - Madison County

Welcome to the official website for the I-270 over the Mississippi River project. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has created this site to provide information about the progress of the project and to facilitate public input and participation in the project. Please take a few minutes to explore the information available on the site. Project updates, public involvement opportunities, and relevant information will be posted to the site throughout the project. Bookmark this page and check back often for the latest news about the project. If you would like to submit your comments or questions, or sign up for the project mailing list, please visit the Get Involved section of this website. Thank you for your interest in the I-270 over the Mississippi River project. IDOT appreciates your participation and input.

 

OVERVIEW AND SCOPE

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has completed the Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Study for the replacement of the bridge that carries I-270 over the Mississippi River connecting Madison County, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. This structure is known locally as the Chain of Rocks Bridge.   Phase II of the project, which consists of preparing contract plans and acquiring right-of-way, has begun. This study identified a preferred alternative for the replacement of the existing bridge and also identified a preferred modification of the interchange at I-270 and Riverview Drive in St. Louis, Missouri.  Completing the Study is the first of three phases in completing an IDOT transportation project.  The results of the study are documented in an IDOT Project Report. The Project Report includes information on the multiple analyses that were conducted to aid in the preferred alternative selection.  Approval of the Federally Approved Categorical Exclusion supported by the Project Report was issued on July 11, 2018 . This allows for IDOT to move on to the next phase of designing the bridge and purchasing the necessary right-of-way and/or easements for the project. If you would like to view the Project Report, please click on the Resource tab of this website.

An inclusive, responsive public involvement program is an essential part of the project. The public involvement program is being implemented using the principles of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS), and follows the policies and procedures for CSS as developed by IDOT. CSS is a collaborative approach that involves all stakeholders to develop a transportation facility that fits into its surroundings and preserves scenic, aesthetic, historic, and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility. More information on CSS and how to provide your input to the project can be found in the Get Involved section of this website.

BACKGROUND

The existing Chain of Rocks Bridge was constructed in 1966.  The structure is composed of 43 spans with a total length of over 5,400 feet.  The structure carries four (4) lanes of traffic, two (2) in each direction.  Over the life of the structure, numerous repairs have been made, from expansion joint replacements, pin and link replacements, repairs to the structural steel, and repairs to the substructure.  In addition to repairs, this structure has seen a significant increase in traffic from a projected average daily traffic (ADT) of 19,800 vehicles per day in 1975, to over 51,000 vehicles per day today, with approximately 17 percent of these vehicles being trucks.  Because the structure is nearing the end of its design life, additional repairs have become necessary and roadway geometrics have become sub-standard.  This has led to the determination by IDOT that this structure be replaced.

FIELD WORK

In September the design team began the field work, including surveying and geotechnical investigations, necessary to prepare the construction plans. The geotechnical investigations included soil borings on land as well as in the river using barges. There will be additional field work and geotechnical investigations by the design team over the next year.

DETAILS

Selected Alternative

During the alternative development process, IDOT studied a range of replacement options for the bridge and the potential effect of those alternatives.  Many factors were considered during this process and ultimately the preferred alternative selection.  Factors considered included but were not limited to:  potential impacts to environmental resources, public comments, surrounding land use, river elevation, traffic statistics, crash history, engineering feasibility, long term maintenance, handling of traffic during construction and how the alternative fits in with the overall roadway infrastructure.  An additional factor that played a key role in the selection of the preferred alternative was the Project Problem Statement.  The Project Problem Statement was developed by the project’s Community Advisory Group (CAG) and identified the problems within the Chain of Rocks study area that need to be addressed.  IDOT continually referred back to this statement to ensure the preferred alternative that was selected addressed these issues.  IDOT has achieved this with the preferred alternative.


PROJECT PROBLEM STATEMENT

"The existing bridge carrying I-270 over the Mississippi River connecting Illinois and Missouri is aging and in need of continual repairs. There is a need to provide a sustainable, long-term solution that increases safety, accommodates future traffic growth, and provides for continued movement of regional and national goods and services while preserving the environmental, recreational and economic viability within the project area.”


The selected alternative consists of constructing new twin bridges, one on the same alignment as the existing Chain of Rocks bridge, and one directly south of the existing Chain of Rocks bridge.  The new bridges will provide inside and outside shoulders that will be wide enough to accommodate a stalled vehicle or emergency responders responding to an accident.  These will be much wider compared to the 1 foot shoulders that exist today.  In addition, the bridges will be wide enough to accommodate a future expansion of I-270.  While I-270 is currently four lanes, MoDOT has completed a study for I-270 in Missouri that proposed expanding I-270 to six lanes up to Riverview Dr.  Similarly, IDOT has recently initiated a study to potentially expand I-270 to six lanes from Missouri to IL Route 157.  The Chain of Rocks bridge, as currently proposed, will be wide enough to fit the future six lanes when they are built by restriping the pavement.  To view the preferred alternative, please click on the Get Involved tab of this website and then click on Public Meeting Displays including Preferred Alternative.

IDOT’S THREE-PHASE PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

IDOT has a three-phase project development process, as shown on the timeline graphic below. A Phase I Study consists of a Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Study which provides the support for the determination of a preferred option. During this phase, proposed geometry, environmental concerns, and proposed right-of-way are identified. Subsequently, a Phase II design of the preferred option that results in contract plans and the acquisition of land is completed followed by Phase III, construction.  Phase I for the I-270 over the Mississippi River has been completed and Phase II is currently underway.  Phase II and III are funded in IDOT’s Multi-Year Program.

Project Timeline

ENVIRONMENT

This Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Study (Phase I) Project Report was prepared following the requirements of the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. NEPA established a national environmental policy intentionally focused on federal activities and the desire for a sustainable environment balanced with other essential needs of present and future generations.

NEPA logo

NEPA requires that any federally funded proposed or future action (such as construction of a roadway) be carefully analyzed for all impacts to natural and cultural resources and to the human environment. This analysis must be documented and made available for public review and comment near the end of the study.

Because transportation projects vary in type, size, complexity, and potential to affect the environment, NEPA encompasses three levels of documentation:

  • Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – for projects where it is known that the action will have a significant effect on the environment.
  • Environmental Assessment (EA) – for projects in which the significance of the environmental impact is not clearly established.
  • Federally Approved Categorical Exclusions – for actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the environment.

In coordination with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Illinois Division, the I-270 over the Mississippi River study was determined to be a Federal Approved Categorical Exclusion.

GET INVOLVED

Newsletter

Issue 1

Issue 2

Issue 3

If you would like to receive the Chain of Rocks Bridge newsletter, please join the mailing list by clicking here.

IDOT held its second Public Meeting for the I-270 bridge replacement project on January 17, 2018, in Granite City, Illinois.  The meeting was in an open format setting and visitors were welcome to come and go as they please.  Below is a link to the Exhibits that were presented at the meetings.

Public Meeting Announcement

Public Meeting Press Release

Public Meeting Displays including Preferred Alternative

Public Meeting Brochure

IDOT held its first pair of Public Meetings for the I-270 bridge replacement project on June 30, 2016 and July 13, 2016, in Illinois and Missouri, respectively.  The same information was presented at both meetings.    Both meetings were in an open format setting and visitors were welcome to come and go as they please.   Below is a link to the Exhibits that were presented at the meetings.

Public Meeting Displays

Public Meeting Brochure

IDOT values your comments and questions. We provide responses to all questions and strive to do so in a timely manner.

All contact information is kept private and is for the sole use of the I-270 over the Mississippi River Study and will not be distributed to any entity outside of IDOT.

Please click here to fill out our online comment form, or if you prefer, you may contact us by U.S. mail, phone, or e-mail:

IDOT logo

Billie Owen, P.E.
Senior Design Squad Leader
Illinois Department of Transportation
Region 5/District 8
1102 Eastport Plaza Drive
Collinsville, IL 62234
Phone: 618-346-3209
billie.owen@illinois.gov


CONTEXT SENSITIVE SOLUTIONS

An important part of the I-270 over the Mississippi River Study is public participation.  IDOT utilizes Context Sensitive CSS LogoSolutions (CSS) as a way to continually engage stakeholders in the study.  As identified in IDOT’s CSS policies, stakeholder involvement is critical to a study’s success. The CSS process strives to achieve the following:

  • Understand stakeholder’s key issues and concerns
  • Involve stakeholders in the decision-making process early and often
  • Establish an understanding of the stakeholder’s role in the study
  • Consider all modes of transportation
  • Set a project schedule
  • Apply flexibility in design to address stakeholder’s concerns whenever possible

For more information on IDOT’s CSS process, please visit the following website at:

http://www.idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/transportation-mangement/context-sensitive-solutions/index


COMMUNITY ADVISORY GROUP (CAG)

CAG GroupOne highlight of our public involvement program is the formation of a Community Advisory Group (CAG).

The purpose of the CAG is to provide input on various elements of the study, including developing a problem statement, identifying issues important to the public, and providing feedback on alternatives.

The CAG will function as a liaison between IDOT and the public as a whole, and will help generate interest in and knowledge about the study. This will help ensure opinions, values, and concerns of the public are shared with the project team, and that information developed by the team is distributed to the broader public.

It is important that the CAG be representative of all the varied interests and viewpoints that exist within the study area. The CAG is expected to be comprised of volunteers who represent a wide variety of local interests, such as elected leaders, cities/villages, economic development, environment, industry, residents, businesses, tourism, commuters, and others with a stake in the study’s outcome.

The existing bridge carrying I-270 over the Mississippi River connecting Illinois and Missouri is aging and in need of continual repairs. There is a need to provide a sustainable long-term solution that increases safety, accommodates future traffic growth, and provides for the continued movement of regional and national goods and services while preserving the environmental, recreational and economic viability within the project area.

The first CAG meeting for the project was held on October 18, 2016.  Please click here to read more about the first CAG Meeting.


STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT PLAN

The Stakeholder Involvement Plan (SIP) serves as a guide for implementing stakeholder involvement activities during the I-270 over the Mississippi River Phase I Study.

The goal of the SIP is to outline a program of activities to actively engage stakeholders throughout the planning process. The objectives of the SIP are to:

  • Identify stakeholders
  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of the lead agency
  • Establish the timing and type of outreach activities with all stakeholders
  • Establish stakeholder requirements for providing timely input to the study development process
  • Provide an approach for evaluating the effectiveness of the public-participation program and refine, as appropriate, to respond to public needs and concerns
Please click here to view the Stakeholder Involvement Plan.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the project limits?

The portion of I-270 that this project includes is from just west of the Chain of Rocks Canal Bridge in Madison, Illinois to just west of Riverview Drive in St. Louis, Missouri.

 Why is IDOT replacing the bridge?

The bridge is nearing the end of its design life and is in need of extensive repair.  The existing bridge was constructed in 1966.  Over the life of the bridge, numerous repairs have been made. In addition to repairs, this bridge has seen a significant increase in traffic from a projected average daily traffic (ADT) of 19,800 vehicles per day in 1975, to over 51,000 vehicles per day today.

What did the Phase I Study accomplish?

In Phase I, the proposed geometry, environmental impacts, and right-of-way requirements were identified. The Study concluded with a preferable replacement option of the bridge which was approved by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA). This allowed for the project to move forward to the design phase, or Phase II.

Will the new bridge be six lanes?

The new bridge is proposed to accommodate six 12-foot lanes and include larger shoulders but will be striped for four lanes initially to match the existing I-270 to the east and west of the bridge. Currently, I-270 is four lanes in Illinois and Missouri adjacent to the bridge. 

Is this part of MoDOT’s I-270 Project?

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) currently is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the widening of I-270 from the I-70 interchange to the western limits of the bridge over the Mississippi River. Information on that project can be found at https://www.modot.org/sites/default/files/documents/270N_EA-ExecutiveSummary.pdf.

This bridge replacement project is not part of the MoDOT study.  However, the proposed bridge will be designed to be compatible with the MoDOT project.

How long the Phase II Design take?

The Phase II Design started in the fall of 2018 and it is anticipated to take approximately two years to complete.

When will construction begin?

Construction could begin in 2021.

Will the bridge be closed during construction?

It is too early to know how traffic will be managed during construction.  The Department strives to manage traffic during construction to minimize inconvenience to the motoring public. 

Who can I contact to provide my comments?

There are numerous ways to provide comments on the study:

Phone: 618-346-3209 (Billie Owen, IDOT)

Email:Billie.Owen@illinois.gov

Additional opportunities to receive study information and provide comments will include newsletters and future public informational meetings.

RESOURCES

Volume I of the Project Report is include here.  To view Volumes II-VII, please contact Cindy Stafford at cindy.stafford@illinois.gov.

Photo Gallery