CHICAGO (STMW) – A massive construction project that will provide access between the Tri-State Tollway and I-57 in the south suburbs begins Monday.

Phase one of the $719 million project will rebuild and widen the I-294 bridges over 147th Street, leaving three lanes open in both directions on I-294 during peak hours, the Illinois Tollway said.

The interchange project will connect I-294 and I-57, one of only two points in the country where interstates cross but don’t connect.

The first phase of the project will create access from northbound I-57 to northbound I-294 and southbound I-294 to southbound I-57, including a new interchange at 147th Street. That will be completed by 2014.

The new I-294/57 interchange will accommodate 76,000 vehicles per day and save drivers $4 million annually in fuel consumption, the tollway said. The full interchange is expected to be completed in 2024.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Watch & Listen LIVE