Expect delays – and thousands of construction jobs for all trades
By CARL GREEN
Illinois is now prepared to spend $23.5 billion over five years to repair, improve and build new roads and bridges.
After decades of neglect, the road projects will literally change the face of the state. The program will average spending of about $3.91 billion a year on maintaining, preserving and expanding 4,212 miles of roadway and 9.2 million square feet of bridge decks, creating tens of thousands of hours of work and making the state more attractive to businesses that rely on quality infrastructure to receive their parts and ship their goods.
The projects were summarized in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) recently released annual Multi-Year Plan.
“These road and bridge projects will create and support hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years for hardworking Illinoisans in every part of our state,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said. “Illinois has some of the most important roads in America. Let’s make them outlast and outperform those across the nation.”
NO MORE WAITING AROUND
Omar Osman, acting IDOT secretary, said the plan signals a shift in Illinois’ approach. The state used to wait until roadways had deteriorated so much they were hazardous but now will make a higher priority of preserving existing roads, he said.
“Illinois will now prioritize maintaining its system over time, which is also a more cost-effective way to manage long-term capital needs,” he said.
The plan dedicates more than 75 percent of the funds to reconstructing and preserving roads and bridges, compared to 16 percent for new construction.
Here’s how the spending breaks down by category:
- $7.58 billion for road reconstruction and preservation.
- $4.99 billion for bridge replacement and repairs.
- $3.08 billion for new roads.
- $2.11 billion for support costs including engineering and land acquisition.
- $1.59 billion for safety and system modernization such as interchange reconstruction.
The increased spending on roads and bridges also allows the state to collect tens of millions in federal dollars each year that might have otherwise been left on the table, Osman said.
The full program can be seen online and covers more than 1,000 pages, but here are the highlights for southern Illinois and the Metro East, all currently described as “tentatively scheduled.”
METRO EAST PROJECTS
This group is from IDOT Region 5 District 8, Collinsville, covering the Metro East and surrounding areas:
- Bridges of St. Clair County – The plan includes $44.5 million for bridges and ramps along I-55, I-64, U.S. 40 and Illinois 3 between the Mississippi River and Interstate 64, including 2.7 miles of reconstruction, lighting, bridge joint replacement and repairs, bridge deck overlay and bridge repair.
- Interstate 64 at Illinois 111 – Includes reconstruction of the interchange, a bridge replacement and ramp repairs for $28.5 million, using special bridge program funding.
- I-64 at Greenmount Road – New lanes and resurfacing are planned for 2.2 miles from Greenmount Road to a mile west of Illinois 158 for $32 million.
- Poplar Street Bridge – Work will be on eastbound lanes as far as Trendley Avenue in East St. Louis, with substructure rehabilitation, a new deck, painting, deck overlay and repairs for $34.9 million with special bridge funding.
- Interstate 255 from Collinsville Road to Dupo. This major reconstruction project will require temporary closings of all lanes, first in the northern section and then in the southern, to get this long-needed job done more quickly. It includes resurfacing, patching, a bridge deck overlay, a new bridge deck, plus bridge, ramp and shoulder repairs with painting and sealing and more, for $138 million.
- I-255 at Dupo – This project, at Imbs Station Road and Davis Street Ferry Road, is a new interchange for $49 million.
- Interstate 270 bridge over the Mississippi River – The tattered old bridge will be replaced for $211 million, starting with engineering next year. Missouri and Illinois will split the cost equally except for some land acquisition and utility adjustments on the Illinois side that Illinois will cover.
- I-270 between Illinois 203 and Illinois 3 – The project includes 2.3 miles of additional lanes and resurfacing for $85 million with engineering to start next year, in an area that is often congested.
- I-270 at Illinois 111 – The interchange will be rebuilt for more efficient freight movement at the distribution warehouse complex here, for $19 million.
- U.S. 67 at Delhi bypass – A four-lane expressway will be built to bypass the town of Delhi in Jersey County for $23 million.
- Intersection of Illinois 162 and Illinois 157 – This intersection at Glen Carbon in Madison County will be rebuilt with a new bridge for $19 million.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS PROJECTS
Another group of projects is listed from Region 5 District 9, which takes in southern Illinois from Jefferson County to the Ohio River and includes the Carbondale area. Those projects are:
- Interstate 57 from Illinois 146 to Interstate 24 – This project in Union and Johnson counties provides 12.7 miles of reconstruction in the northbound lanes for $21 million.
- I-57 in Franklin County – Additional lanes for 3.2 miles and a bridge replacement are planned both north and south of Illinois 149 for $19 million to make freight movement more efficient.
- I-57 and I-64 at Illinois 15 at Mount Vernon – This vital interchange will be reconstructed, with a bridge replacement, for $52 million.
- I-57 from Big Muddy River to I-64 – This section will get additional lanes, bridge replacements and a bridge deck overlay over 25 miles for $174.6 million.
- I-64 at Wabash River – This long-awaited bridge replacement will cost $90.7 million, to be shared with Indiana.
- Illinois 37 from Bonnie to Benton – New shoulders and resurfacing of 13.8 miles are planned, between Campground Road and Illinois 14, for $34.5 million.
- Illinois 149 at West Frankfort – A seventh of a mile will be resurfaced between I-57 and Illinois 37 for $1.2 million.
- Old U.S. 51 from Union County line to Illinois 37 – A section passing 18.5 miles through several small towns, ending near Cairo on the south, will be resurfaced for $66.8 million.