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November 21, 2019

10/29/2019 10:38:00 AM
County will benefit from capital plan
Some listed road, bridge projects already completed, county engineer says.
Daily News

Crawford County could be looking at nearly $20 million in road and bridge repairs as part of the Rebuild Illinois capital plan.

Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Transportation this week released the department's annual Multi-Year Plan of road and bridge projects across the state.

Crawford County is looking at $9.69 million in bridge and road repairs that have already been approved and scheduled for 2020. These include three bridge replacement projects along Illinois Rt. 1 between Gordon Junction and the Lawrence County line; the resurfacing of a section of county highway near Annapolis; and reconstruction of East Highland Avenue near Rector and Mefford in Robinson.

Crawford County Highway Engineer Justin Childress said many of the projects listed for 2020 began back in July and are completed. "We have built four bridges and resurfaced up by Annapolis," Childress said.

The projects listed for Crawford County are part of an on going five-year plan Childress submits to the state every year. As projects are completed they are removed and others added.

Another $9.79 million in projects are targeted for repair or replacement between 2021 and 2025 as funds become available.

"Projects planned for the next year or two are pretty much guaranteed," Childress said. "It is bad that gasoline tax went up 19 cents, but a lot of that money is coming back to the county in form of Motor Fuel Tax."

This new Multi-Year Plan represents a shift in Illinois' approach to its roadways and bridges. Previously, the state waited to rebuild until projects had deteriorated so much that they presented safety hazards; under guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, Illinois will now prioritize maintaining its system over time, which is also a more cost-effective way to manage long-term capital needs.

To achieve that, this plan dedicates more than 75 percent of the funds to reconstructing and preserving roadways and bridges, 16 percent to strategically expanding the system in areas where data have shown the investment will be highly effective and the remainder for necessary traffic and safety improvements.

Of the major categories of state investments in the plan, $7.58 billion will go toward roadway reconstruction and preservation, $4.99 billion for bridge replacements and repairs, $1.59 billion for safety and system modernizations like interchange reconstructions, $3.08 billion for strategic expansion of the system and $2.11 billion for system support like engineering and land acquisition.

The additional state investment has also allowed the department to maximize federal dollars, bringing in tens of millions annually that would have otherwise been left on the table each year.

The FY20-25 Multi-Year Plan serves as a baseline plan in the capital program. Updated plans, based on revenue and evaluation metrics, will be released each year and adjustments to projects will be made on an annual basis through the MYP.

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