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|Local IDOT District Gearing Up for Stimulus-Fueled Spring Roadwork
|A state transportation official who's district includes the Galesburg area says much needed road construction projects will begin soon thanks to legislation passed recently by the General Assembly.
Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the "Jump Start Capital Plan," referred to as a mini-capital plan, which is supposed to provide a boost to the economy in Illinois and create thousands of jobs through road construction projects. The nearly $10 billion program is the first piece of the $26 billion "Illinois Jobs Now!" proposal that Quinn says will support 340,000 jobs and is part of his economic recovery plan.
The funding is good news for the Illinois Department of Transportation and motorists who travel on roads in dire need of repair. IDOT District 4 Operations Engineer Shane Larson tells WGIL the money in the mini-capital bill will be used for maintaining existing roads. "We had a lot of input into a lot of the projects that are going to be selected," Larson said. "All this money is going to go for system maintenance rather than building new roads. And, obviously, we need new roads, too. But (the public) drives the roads, and we need to maintain what we have right now, and that's what this money will go for."
Illinois has been without a capital plan since 1999. Nearly $7 billion for the construction program comes from federal economic stimulus money. The state is kicking in $3 billion.
Larson says IDOT has engineers who prioritize which roads need worked on. He says officials try to get to the worst ones first and move on down the list. There are 4,200 lane miles in the 12 counties that make up District 4.
Senator Dale Risinger says the program will provide more than $57.5 million for 24 projects affecting 117 miles in his district. That includes $5.4 million for a bridge, new deck, and superstructure on Interstate 74 at U.S. Route 34 in Galesburg and nearly $1.6 million to resurface about 4 1/2 miles on U.Ss 34, from east of I-74 to a half-mile north of Illinois Route 167.
|04 13 09 by Newsroom
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