Illinois will spend more than $11 billion on maintaining and replacing roads and bridges in the next six years.
Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the program Tuesday in Peoria, where $205 million – the largest single chunk of the plan -- will be used to replace the McClugage Bridge.
More than $97.6 million will be spent to improve U.S. 20 across northern Illinois between Interstate 39 and the Mississippi River. That includes $34.7 million for work on the bypass south of Rockford.
The planned projects are part of a new, risk-based Transport Asset Management Plan -or TAMP- required by the Federal Highway Administration. It challenges states to review the life cycle of its bridges and roads. Rauner says it’s a worthwhile method.
“The reality is, we’ve got to invest in our assets on a smart basis, on an ongoing basis, to make sure they're well maintained,” he said. “And that actually saves money in the long run, and we get longer effective lives out of our roads and bridges.”
He said the plan is built on an asset management approach that takes overall economic impact into account and not just what needs repair the most.
“We are no longer just relying on the old strategy of ‘worst first’ meaning invest in a road that’s a disaster,” Rauner said. “Our old strategy was like buying a new car and then not changing the oil and just wait until the car stopped running and then buy a new car.”
IDOT has completed the initial portion of the asset management program and plans to be fully compliant by June 2019. The highway improvement program will fund rehabilitation of 1,945 miles of state-owned roads and nearly 8.5 million square feet of bridge decks on 525 bridges. Funds for locally-maintained bridges and roads also are allocated in the I-DOT plan.
“This program doesn’t get us to where we need to be,” said IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn, “but it’s a good step forward in maintaining what we have and making sure we’re giving true value to the people of Illinois.”
- Peoria Public Radio Reporter Kristin McHugh contributed to this report.