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October 13, 1998 Opening of the Alton Bypass


An official from IDOT headquarters starts off the ceremony.

On October 13, 1998 at 11 a.m., Govenor Jim Edgar officially opened up the first strech of the Alton Bypass from I-270 to IL 143 at the Madison Ave. interchange in South Roxana. About 200 people attended the ceremony, which was about 30 minutes long.


Gov. Jim Edgar addresses to the crowd during the opening ceremonies. (Photo © by St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The Govenor mainly told about the economic benefits, but also told the crowd about the last two opening ceremonies he attended while he was govenor: the opening of the New Clark Bridge on January 4, 1994, and the opening of the new Melvin Price Locks and Dam in Alton. He said that the opening of the Clark Bridge was the coldest day he has ever did a ceremony, plus it taught him a lesson that when its his ceremony -- he goes first. The opening of the locks and dam was one of the hottest days he held a ceremony. He said that this weather we had today for the opening of IL 255 was perfect.

Then the mayor of Wood River spoke. He told the crowd he just got back from a ground-breaking ceremony of a new plant nearby. (I don't remember any other part of his speech other than he was pretty much pleased to finally have the damn thing -- mainly b/c I could barely hear him.)

After short speeches from the mayors of two other communities, the other local politicans, contractors, and whoever else that made IL 255 a possibility were recoginzed.

Then the ribbon-cutting ceremony was held. I had a hard time getting a good photo of that due to the fact all the news cameras were in front and I was standing behind two tall men. All the mayors and the govenor got sisscors and cut the red/white/blue ribbon on the count of three.

Then the Govenor walked to a black car waiting in the southbound lanes. They got off the highway, did a "flip-flop" on Madison Ave., and then took the IL 255 south ramp back onto the highway.

The southbound lanes were opened to the public about 20 minutes later, but the northbound lanes didn't open for about an hour due to the fact the ceremony was held in the northbound lanes. People who attended the ceremony parked on the northbound on-ramp from Madison Ave, and on the northbound lanes just south of the Madison Ave. exit.

The "parking lot" of cars parked along the IL 255 north ramp from Madison Avenue during the ceremony. (click photo to view a larger image)

News Articles in Response to this

  • From St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the opening of IL 255
  • News article from St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the first crash on IL 255
  • From Belleville News-Democrat over the first IL 255 crash (similar to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, but with two key differences) -- this one has been scanned from a photo scanner
  • A story from the Alton Telegraph with a twist of the officer who had the first IL 255 crash.
  • Edwardsville Intelligencer report of the opening of IL 255. This file has also been saved from the internet on a disk, so the images/links may not work.
  • Photo and story from the Belleville News-Democrat over October 13 ceremony. These files were hard copies scanned in by myself, so there is some distortion. Also note that the photo has the caption telling one thing, but the photo telling a whole different story.
  • From the Alton Telegraph. this file has been saved from the internet and the images/links may not work.

    Observations

    IL 255 is a 4-lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit. It has its own mileage, but the exit number for the exit with I-270 is "30".

    Overall, this highway is going to take a lot of traffic off the dangerous Route 111, which has long been known for being a dangerous highway. Sadly, it will also mean that I'll miss using the ramp from N255 to W270 which takes you into northbound 111. (However, I won't be missing 111 too much b/c I grew up too damn close to it for several years and always hated driving on that highway at any time of the day, esp. at night.)

    I have taken some photos of the ceremony and a couple observations from the southbound lanes -- but I have not used up that roll of film yet. I have sent another photo to the webmaster who maintains the Illinois Highways Page.

    View junction list for I-255 and IL 255. Note that I don't have a link where you can jump directly to IL 255, and that not everything on the actual junction list is actually posted (i.e. IDOT don't post county highway numbers from interstate guide signs, etc.)

    Disclaimers: All photos have been taken by Kim Harvey except where noted.