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More road work coming, courtesy of IDOT's 2016 plan
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff

Officials called the latest state capital program the biggest construction season in state history. So brace for plenty of this.

 

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Published: 4/16/2010 12:03 AM

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Needs improvement

Here's a look at some regional projects IDOT has prioritized in its multiyear highway and bridge plan.

• Bridge replacement and intersection improvement at the Kennedy Expressway and Cumberland Avenue, $20 million budgeted. Considered a fast-track project.

• Additional lanes on I-94/Route 41 from Wisconsin to Route 173 in Lake County, $57 million budgeted. Considered a fast-track project.

• Additional lanes on Route 14 from West Lake Shore Drive to Crystal Lake Avenue in McHenry County, $63.7 million budgeted.

• Interchange reconstruction of Route 20 over McLean Boulevard in Elgin, $54 million budgeted. Considered a fast-track project.

• Additional lanes on Route 22 between Quentin Road and Route 83 in Kildeer and Long Grove, $45.5 million budgeted.

• Railroad grade separation at Roosevelt Road and the Union Pacific tracks in West Chicago, $38.4 million budgeted. Considered a fast-track project.

• Interchange reconstruction at Route 47 and I-90 in Huntley, $16.6 million budgeted.

• Additional lanes on Route 59 between Ferry Road and Aurora Avenue in Naperville, $118 million budgeted. Considered a fast-track project.

• Additional lanes on Route 64 between Kautz Road and Route 59 in St. Charles and West Chicago, $44.8 million budgeted.

• Algonquin Bypass in McHenry County, $92 million budgeted.

There's a lot more gas in IDOT's tank this year for road work but while the state will spend substantial cash improving highways, don't expect any world-changing projects in the next few years.

With new funding coming in from capital programs approved last year in the General Assembly, the Illinois Department of Transportation intends to spend $12.8 billion on highway and bridges between fiscal years 2011 to 2016. That's a boost from the $11.3 billion multiyear plan unveiled last May, when agency Secretary Gary Hannig urged lawmakers to enact a capital bill.

Officials called the program the biggest construction season in state history Thursday. "We're trying to push as many projects out the door as we can," Hannig said. "With the capital bill, we're able to move forward."

That may mean improvements to I-55 near Lake Shore Drive could start later this year along with a number of suburban projects.

The building program is projected to create about 167,000 jobs in the next six years.

The $12.84 billion plan includes $7.9 billion in money from the federal government. In describing its priorities, IDOT noted that maintaining its system of roads and bridges comes first, followed by congestion relief and system expansion. The Illinois highway system is 88 percent acceptable and state-maintained bridges are at 92 percent, the road plan states.

But in addition to fixing what's there, the multiyear plan allocates about $74 million to build an interchange between the Tri-State Tollway and I-57. That won't cover the $570 million cost of the connection despite a $47 million commitment from the Illinois tollway.

The plan also includes $125 million for engineering work on the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway extension and western bypass - a project estimated around $3.6 billion - and $50 million for design studies of the Illiana Expressway, a highway connecting I-55 in Will County and I-65 in Indiana.

Notably absent were commitments to the extension of Route 53 north of Lake-Cook Road in Lake County and the Prairie Parkway, linking I-80 and I-88 between Kane and Grundy counties.

Because of the influx of funding, IDOT is fast-tracking some improvements that could be bid this spring with work starting later this year. Some of the accelerated projects include:

• Bridge rehabilitation on I-55 between the Dan Ryan Expressway and Lake Shore Drive.

• Reconstruction and more lanes on I-190 between Bessie Coleman Drive and I-90.

• Interchange reconstruction on Lake Street over McLean Boulevard in Elgin.

• Widening on Route 59 from Ferry Road to Aurora Avenue in Naperville.