For Immediate Release
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation today announced the Interstate 55-Lake Shore Drive interchange has earned the Grand Prize in the 2018 America’s Transportation Awards, the top honor for state departments of transportation. The award, which includes a $10,000 cash prize for a local nonprofit organization, was presented to IDOT at the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials annual meeting in Atlanta.
“Transportation is what makes Illinois stand out from the rest of the country and this award once again confirms that,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said. “Investing in infrastructures promotes economic growth and improves quality of life. This project strengthens our status as the country’s transportation hub, but also helps to recognize the hard work of our employees at IDOT to provide top-notch service to the people of Illinois.”
The I-55-Lake Shore Drive interchange took the top prize for its use of a temporary bridge to accommodate inbound I-55 traffic to southbound Lake Shore Drive, saving the public countless hours of delays by avoiding extended closures and detours during the reconstruction.
“We are proud to bring this award home to Illinois for the first time,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “The innovation that made this project stand out represents IDOT’s enthusiasm and commitment for creating and maintaining a safe and efficient transportation system for travelers statewide. Our employees strive to find creative solutions each and every day in everything they do to keep Illinois moving.”
The project, selected from a field of 79 nominations from 35 states, also was in the running for the People’s Choice Award determined by online voting. The project received 10,622 votes, the third most in the contest.
“All of the nominees in the 2018 competition are standouts, representing a wide range of transportation solutions,” said Bud Wright, AASHTO’s executive director. “State departments of transportation are improving safety and the quality of life for their communities while also finding new ways to solve transportation challenges.”
The $10,000 in prize money will be given to the Special Olympics. The event debuted 50 years ago at Chicago’s Soldier Field, which is just north of the interchange.