IDOT outlines central Illinois road projects

U.S. 67 corridor targeted for $2.95 million upgrade

Sunday, February 26, 2006

SPRINGFIELD - Among the major road projects the Illinois Department of Transportation is proposing for central Illinois this summer is a $2.95 million plan to continue the ongoing effort to widen the U.S. 67 corridor.

IDOT also is set to offer Morgan County and Manchester in Scott County a one-time payment of $1.5 million to give them complete jurisdiction over two segments that run along U.S. 67. That transfer would be completed by the end of the year, and those segments would no longer be part of the state highway system, said Matt Vanover, IDOT spokesman.

The U.S. 67 corridor is 229 miles of state highway that stretches from Alton north to Rock Island. For more than 20 years, IDOT has worked on expanding it to four lanes. Taking up most of the proposed budget for U.S. 67 this year, with $1.95 million, are the engineering and contract plans from the Cass County line to a mile east of Concord near the Illinois River at Beardstown. Through fiscal year 2012, IDOT estimates that project to cost $13 million.

Though the U.S. 67 corridor projects are among Gov. Rod Blagojevich's highly touted budget proposals, Sen. Deanna Demuzio, D-Carlinville, kept a "wait-and-see" attitude after Friday's announcement of the proposed multiyear highway program.

"This is a large project," Demuzio said. "We want it, we have questions and we want to know basically what the scope is."

Demuzio, along with other Corridor 67 widening proponents, will meet with IDOT representatives Tuesday morning to gain more specific information on some items, especially a proposed bond program for the Jerseyville Bypass at Dearcy Creek, she said.

While all the road improvement proposals are important, the overall program's objective is to address safety issues through resurfacing projects and bridge replacements, said Christine Reed, the Region 4 engineer for IDOT.

Setting priorities for the work also depends on how the early phases of each project goes. Land acquisitions may hold up the process, Reed said.

IDOT estimates it will spend more than $830 million on the project from fiscal year 2007, which begins July 1, to fiscal year 2012. The overall project is estimated to cost more than $1.6 billion.

"I wouldn't say (Friday's proposals on U.S. 67 are) a huge step forward." Demuzio said. "We'll just take it as a small step."

Among other major central Illinois projects included in IDOT's fiscal '07 budget plan are:

- $1.6 million to resurface two miles of Interstate 55 Business/Ninth Street from South Grand Avenue to Converse Avenue in Springfield.

- $1.7 million to begin preliminary planning for a bridge at Interstate 55 Business at Salt Creek southwest of Lincoln in Logan County.

- $2.25 million to resurface three miles of Interstate 72/U.S. 36 from a half-mile west of Old U.S. 36, west of Winchester, to the railroad tracks in Scott County.

- $900,000 to replace a bridge over Illinois 4 from Honey Creek 6 miles south of Illinois 108 in Macoupin County.

- $2.3 million to resurface 11 miles of Illinois 48 from the Macon County line to half a mile northeast of McAdam Drive in Taylorville in Christian County.

- $700,000 to resurface a mile of Illinois 97/Jefferson Street from half a mile west of Illinois 4 to Meadowlark Drive in Springfield and to upgrade a traffic signal at that intersection.

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