IDOT Lays out Six-Year Spending Plan, Announce Road Closures

5/27/2015, 4:13 p.m.
Curious about the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year, $8.4 billion highway construction plan? If you frequently drive on Illinois’ ...
Torrence Avenue Grand Calumet River Bridge.

Curious about the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year, $8.4 billion highway construction plan? If you frequently drive on Illinois’ roadway, you should be.

Here are the facts…

The six-year plan is aimed at fixing and improving roads and bridges throughout the state. However, IDOT anticipates a rapid deterioration in the overall condition of Illinois infrastructure due to a lack of sustainable investment.

Based on current state and federal funding levels, IDOT’s FY2016-21 Proposed Highway Improvement Program focuses on maintaining the existing system with improvements to 1,431 miles of highway and 357 bridges.

“While this latest multiyear program will have a positive impact on many of our communities, it also underscores the urgency to find a long-term, sustainable solution for our infrastructure needs,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “A high-quality transportation network is a job creator and economic asset. But just maintaining our existing system will be a challenge, with the ability to take on any new projects extremely difficult.”

Among the projects in the plan are $351 million for the ongoing Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction in Chicago, $196.6 million to replace the eastbound U.S. 150 bridge over the Illinois River in Peoria, $82.6 million to replace Interstate 80 bridges in Will County, $76.4 million to rebuild inbound Interstate 55 connecting to Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, and $36.5 million to replace the King Bridge ramps over westbound Interstate 55/64/70 in East St. Louis.

Of the $8.4 billion identified in the program, $1.85 billion will be invested in FY16. While 83 percent of state highways and 93 percent of bridges are in acceptable condition today, conditions are poised to decline.

Ill. State Rep. Elgie Sims (Dist.-34th) announced recently that IDOT, based on a recent inspection of the bridge carrying Torrence Avenue over the Grand Calumet River, the right lane in both northbound and southbound directions will close; maintaining one lane in each direction in the center of the bridge.

Funding for the replacement of this structure is included in the early portion of IDOT's 2016 - 2021 Proposed Highway Improvement Program. Once the structure replacement project is completed, the lane closures and load posting will be removed. Until that time, IDOT reportedly will continue to monitor the condition of the structure to ensure the safety of the bridge.

By the end of FY21, just 62 percent of highways and 86 percent of bridges will be in acceptable condition.

For the last month, Blankenhorn and IDOT reportedly have been on a statewide listening tour to hear about the infrastructure needs and priorities from residents, business and stakeholders who rely on the state’s transportation system. A final report will be presented to the governor’s office and the General Assembly. The tour wraped up May 22.

The multiyear program in its entirety can be viewed at goo.gl/gLOqt7. Listening tour dates and locations, as well as an online survey for those who cannot attend, are available at www.dot.illinois.gov.