Illinois approves $1.1 billion for roads, bridges

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/29/2014

A $1.1 billion plan in Illinois to get to work on “shovel-ready” transportation projects is now law.

Gov. Pat Quinn put his signature on a bill July 22 in Chicago to authorize the sale of bonds to pay for road and bridge work throughout the state.

Critics say the program is a “Band-Aid approach” to a problem that needs a long-term solution.

Advocates say the bonds that will be paid back with revenue from retired bonds are needed to help address road and bridge damage that resulted from the harsh winter weather.

On the heels of historic winter weather, acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren said, “This construction program is the shot in the arm that our transportation system and our economy needs.”

Among the 210 projects funded by HB3794:

  • $86 million to rebuild and repair the bridges at Interstate 55 and state Route 171 in the southwest suburbs;
  • $56.8 million to add lanes to U.S. 14 in Crystal Lake;
  • $52.7 million to resurface 25.7 miles of I-57 in Union, Johnson and Williamson counties;
  • $52.1 million to initiate improvements at the I-55 interchange with Weber Road in Romeoville;
  • $48 million to reconstruct the I-55 bridges approaching Lake Shore Drive in Chicago;
  • $39.9 million for 8.3 miles of resurfacing and bridge deck repair on I-70 in Fayette and Effingham counties; and
  • $31 million to resurface 30 miles of I-80 in Henry County.

The governor said the state’s economy depends on transportation. He also said the entire country depends on Illinois to take care of its infrastructure.

“We are the heart of the heartland. It’s important to the whole country that we make investments into improving our roads and bridges and relieving congestion all across this state,” Quinn said at the bill signing ceremony.

Work on some transportation projects has already started.

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