A highway reconstruction project on the northbound lanes of Interstate 57 in Illinois from Benton to the Franklin/Jefferson County line is scheduled to begin April 20, reducing traffic to one lane.

Traffic slowdowns and congestion are expected.

The work involves removal of the existing bituminous surface, rubblizing the underlying original concrete pavement and resurfacing with 9 1/4 inch of hot mix asphalt over the 8 mile long project. The present traffic count in the northbound direction is 16,100 vehicles per day with 32 percent being heavy trucks.

The planned work schedule is to begin early on April 20 by closing the passing lane from the Illinois 154 interchange northerly to the Franklin/Jefferson County line. Once the passing lane and inside shoulder are complete, traffic will be shifted to the new surface and work will begin on the driving lane and outside shoulder.

Several operations will take place simultaneously and at times work is to be performed at night. This section is expected to be completed in a three- to four-week period.

The second section of the project begins just north of the Illinois 14 interchange at Benton and extends northerly to the Illinois 154 interchange. The northbound Rend Lake Rest Area will be closed during reconstruction of this portion of the project. The work on this section will begin shortly after the Memorial Day holiday period and will be completed before the Independence Day holiday period.

Southbound traffic will not be affected by the work.