Stearns School Road Bridge work begins

Full closure of the bridge scheduled for later in March

The Illinois Tollway this week began to remove and rebuild the Stearns School Road bridge carrying traffic over the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee.

Reconstruction of the Stearns School Road bridge is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Daily lane closures in both directions on Interstate 94 will take place between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., with up to two lanes closed at a time for advance work to prepare for bridge removal and reconstruction. Overnight lane closures are scheduled during the week, with up to three lanes closed at a time and 15-minute full closures scheduled overnight March 4 into March 5.

Electronic message signs and construction signage are in place to alert drivers. All work is dependent on weather.

Once advance work is complete, a full closure of the Stearns School Road bridge is scheduled to begin later in March. To safely accommodate construction and reduce the duration of work, the bridge is scheduled to be closed to traffic with a posted detour for nine months. Full closure and a traffic detour are necessary because the bridge is too narrow to accommodate traffic while safely providing a work zone to complete the removal and reconstruction of the bridge. More than 15,900 vehicles travel on this section of Stearns School Road daily.

“The Illinois Tollway understands safety is just as important as access for drivers who use the tollway to reach work and home, and we thank them for their patience,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez said in a news release. “Closing the bridge allows us to safely complete this work in less time and minimize the inconvenience to customers.”

During closure of the bridge, a posted detour will direct Stearns School Road traffic to use Dilleys Road, Grand Avenue and Hunt Club Road to route around the bridge closure. Stearns School Road will be closed between Hunts Club Road and Dilleys Road.

Access to Gurnee Mills Mall off Stearns School Road will remain open during construction.

On I-94, shifts in traffic and overnight lane closures will continue to be scheduled in both directions as needed to accommodate work on the bridge.

Construction and detours are being coordinated by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Gurnee, Warren Township and Lake County, as well as local fire and police departments.

The Illinois Tollway, Gurnee and the Lake County Division of Transportation are working in coordination to replace the 70-year-old Stearns School Road bridge. The new bridge structure will be designed to provide three lanes of traffic, as well as bicycle and pedestrian access.

As part of the Stearns School Road bridge project, the existing two-lane bridge carrying traffic over the tollway will be removed and replaced.

Since the Illinois Tollway typically constructs new bridges with a 75-year service life, the new bridge will be designed to accommodate future local roadway improvements.

The work is part of the Illinois Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future. It includes $5.4 million in local cost participation for the improvements.

Maps and information about the Stearns School Road project are available in the projects section on the Tollway’s website at