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State Transportation Department rolls out new infrastructure blueprint

Wed, 17 Apr 2013 14:36:37 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker / AP

The new $12.62 billion Illinois six year construction program has two McLean County projects planned for next year. The plan allocates $19 million for an overlay of a section of Interstate 39 and replacement of the business I-55 bridge over I-74 southwest of Bloomington. IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider says nearly three quarters of the road money will go to maintenance and not new construction.

"We are facing the needs of a system that has now pretty much outlived its design life.

Much of the Illinois road network was built in the middle part of the last century. The plan has relatively high dollar numbers for next year, but significant drops in the remaining five. Schneider says that reflects the end of a state capital construction bill, the likelihood of federal budget cuts, and increasing pension obligations for transportation workers which are siphoning money away from construction. .

Schneider also says the proposal includes five million dollars over the six years for mass transit in McLean County as part of a multi modal effort. Connect Transit in Bloomington and rural transit in the county could eventually see seventeen new diesel buses and two minivans.

"We are trying to make sure that we are addressing all of the mobility needs of the state. And it's really important that all of those systems, or all of those modes work together."

"And we're also making improvements at the Peoria International Airport to their lighting system which is out of date. Both Peoria and Rockford are key freight movement aiports in the state system."

The program includes completion of the $487 million redesign of the nation's most congested intersection, the Circle Interchange just west of Chicago's Loop. It's where the Dan Ryan, Kennedy and Eisenhower expressways and Congress Parkway converge. It hasn't been updated since its construction 50 years ago. The program also lists construction of a new Mississippi River bridge at Moline. Federal money will pay for 57 percent of the program. About 15 percent is from state funds and local governments and other sources pick up the rest. The proposal requires legislative approval

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