By CARL GREEN
Collinsville, IL – Illinois’ recent surge in road building and improvements will continue for the next six years with $21.3 billion in funding under the updated Rebuild Illinois program.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the newly released funds will improve 3,356 miles of road and 8.4 million square feet of bridge decks.
Pritzker came to Collinsville to announce $1.8 billion will come to the Metro East for infrastructure improvements, including bridge and road repairs or full replacements.
For all the issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the hard work of maintaining and improving roads is still needed following years of Republican-led inaction, Pritzker said.
“Illinois remains a hub for commerce and transit, and not just for this nation, but for the entire global economy,” Pritzker said. “We are the fifth-largest economy in the United States and the crossroads for national and international companies that need our roads and airports and rail and rivers and people to move their products.
“Even in a pandemic – especially in a pandemic – our transportation systems connect the lives of our residents and our communities. Our roads and bridges deliver Illinoisans to work and home again, to school, to the pharmacy, to the doctor’s office.”
I-255 WORK ON SCHEDULE
Pritzker announced the multi-year Rebuild Illinois plan last year, freeing the Department of Transportation to begin work on the $67 million rehabilitation of Interstate 255 – one of the most damaged roads in the state – in St. Clair and Madison counties.
By closing I-255 completely during the work, IDOT officials say they will be able to complete the work in one construction season instead of several and save an anticipated $14 million.
“The multi-year plan keeps us on task during these uncertain times,” said Omer Osman, acting secretary of the Department of Transportation. “While we are not cutting or delaying projects, we will continue monitoring the impacts on future revenues to ensure we are investing taxpayer resources wisely.”
Projects included in the Rebuild Illinois program were selected based on criteria such as pavement conditions, traffic volumes and crash history. Over its six-year timeframe, the program includes:
- $6.1 billion for highway reconstruction and preservation
- $4.7 billion for bridge improvements
- $2.6 billion for strategic expansion
- $1.8 billion for engineering, land acquisition and support
- $1.4 billion for safety and system modernization
PRESERVING ROADS, SAVING TAX DOLLARS
The goal is to keep roads repaired before they deteriorate, extending the lives of roads and bridges and saving billions in taxpayer dollars, Osman said.
Most of the revenue for the improvements comes from motor fuel taxes, which have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as residents have reduced the number of miles they are driving.
Osman said IDOT is working to determine what effect that might have on the remainder of the Rebuild Illinois plan.
“While we are not cutting projects at this time, we will continue to monitor the impact on future revenues to make sure we are investing taxpayer resources wisely,” Osman said.
Voters last year approved raising the motor fuel tax from 18 to 38 cents per gallon of gasoline.
Major projects in the Metro-East to be funded by the Rebuild Illinois plan include:
- Resurfacing four miles of I-64 in St. Clair County and 22 miles of I-255 from Illinois 3 to Illinois 15.
- A new interchange at I-255 and Imbs Station Road in Dupo.
- Replacement of the I-270 bridge over the Mississippi River.
- Reconstruction of the interchange at I-270 and Illinois 111 in Madison County.
- Intersection reconstruction and a new bridge at Illinois 162 and 157.
For more information on the Rebuild Illinois program and community projects visit https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/CommunityInfrastructure/Pages/RebuildIllinois_Programs.aspx.