GRANITE CITY, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Transportation is getting ready to replace the Chain of Rocks Bridge and they want to make sure drivers know how the work will impact them. The I-270 bridge over the Mississippi is a vital link between north St. Louis and St. Louis County in Missouri and Madison County, Illinois, and it is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Built in 1966, the Chain of Rocks Bridge has needed more and more repairs in recent years as traffic continues to increase. In 1975, just under 20,000 cars a day used the bridge. Now more than 51,000 cross the Chain of Rocks daily. 

The project calls for two new spans to be built side by side. The first new span will be built south of the existing bridge, closer to the historic Chain of Rocks Bridge. Traffic will be shifted there as the current I-270 bridge is demolished. Then construction of the new northern span will begin.

As the new bridge is built, MoDOT will be making major changes to the Riverview interchange on the west side on the river. It’s all changes engineers say are long overdue.

“It’s tired. It’s very tired. We’re ready and excited,” says Tiffany Brase, IDOT Studies and Plans Engineer. “The old structure does not have any shoulders so if there is a disabled vehicle there really isn’t any room for somebody to get around. As we can see there’s a repair contract right now that’s happening, and we only have one lane of traffic with no extra room to maneuver around it. So, with the new structure, not only are we going to have wider shoulders but, in the future, it will accommodate six lanes.”

Construction is expected to begin in fall 2022. There may be some occasional lane closures during construction, but IDOT hopes to keep lanes of traffic open as much as possible.

“We realize that it is going to be a nuisance for three or four years, but we also realize that it is going to be necessary. The bridge just has to be replaced,” says Robert Lee of Bellfontaine Neighbors.

Learn more about the project here: www.270mrb.com.