Within Chicago, Interstate 57 follows the Dan Ryan Extension, which extends from the split with I-94 southwest toward Kankakee. The first portion of I-57 to open in Chicago was a 1.1 mile stretch leading west from the Dan Ryan and Calumet (Bishop Ford Freeway) Expressway exchange to Halsted Street on November 6, 1963.2 The remaining urban segments of I-57 in Chicago opened to traffic in phases between 1967 and 1970.3
The first section of Interstate 57 in Illinois was dedicated on September 26, 1961. The 30-mile segment opened from Dongola (Exit 24) north to Marion. The next stretch completed, extended I-57 north from Marion to Johnston City on November 1, 1962. The route to West Frankfort followed in 1963 and by 1965, I-57 was open north to Mount Vernon.4
An additional ten miles of Interstate 57 opened to traffic south from Ullin in May 1969. The following month another 14 miles of freeway were completed from Illinois 16 and Mattoon north to Illinois 133 at Arcola. Subsequent completion occurred in July 1969 on a five mile section of I-57 from Urbandale northward, and a 21.5 mile stretch from a point south of Mount Vernon to Illinois 161 east of Centralia.11
Continuing work through Fall 1969 included opening an eight mile section of I-57 from Tuscola to Arcola. Additional portions finished that December of that year were seven miles from Illinois 161 north to Salem, 13 miles from Onarga to Ashkum and 13 miles from Champaign to Rantool.11
The Interstate 57 Mississippi River bridge was dedicated on June 23, 1978. Constructed over the course of six years at a cost of $25.4-million, the bridge opened as part of a $50-million, 11-mile link between Charleston, Missouri and U.S. 51 outside Cairo. This section was the last to open of the overall Interstate 57 corridor.5
A $10.6-million project broke ground on July 16, 2013 to expand Interstate 57 to six lanes between Marion and Johnston City, Illinois. Related work included the conversion of the ramps with Illinois 13 to a single point urban interchange (SPUI),6 as well as the addition of the first diverging diamond interchange (DDI) in southern Illinois. Work on the DDI at The Hill Avenue (formerly Morgan Avenue) was coupled with the adjacent SPUI at IL 13 in a $40 million project. The new exit opened on August 12, 2015.7
Construction at Mount Vernon involved the overlap with Interstate 64. Started in July 2011, this project widened 4.7 miles of I-57 to six overall lanes through the city, with working underway to December 1, 2013.8 The Mount Vernon widening was the first of the overall I-57 Corridor plan to expand the freeway to six lanes southward to Marion and Interstate 24.
Further north at Effingham, $125-million in construction involves the cosigned stretch of I-57/70. Work broke ground on October 5, 2010 to widen the freeway to six lanes, replace the Little Wabash River bridge on Interstate 70, and reconstruct the interchange with Fayette Avenue.9 The four-phase project ran through Fall 2016.10