As part of his commitment to ensuring Illinois has a 21st century transportation system, Governor Pat Quinn today announced two major road projects in the Peoria area. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will complete the final phase of its widening of Illinois Route 8 in Washington this summer and begin finalizing plans for the replacement of the BNSF Railroad viaduct over Illinois Route 29 in Chillicothe. The two projects will create jobs, reduce congestion and improve the flow of goods and services throughout the greater Peoria area.
"In order to compete in the global economy, we must ensure that Illinois has a 21st century transportation system," Governor Quinn said. "We are committed to modernizing our roads and bridges in the Peoria area, which will create jobs and support economic growth throughout Illinois."
Governor Quinn announced the two projects, which are estimated to cost more than $12.4 million, while addressing the Innovation Conference on Asphalt & Transportation (ICAT), which provides opportunities to develop public-private partnerships, and address transportation industry challenges. Keynote speakers at the conference included Sam Pitroda, Infrastructure Minister and Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and business and government leaders from around the world. ICAT, hosted by Bradley University, also presented Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton with its Heartland Sustainability Award.
The improvements on Illinois Route 8 include reconstructing 1.2 miles of roadway and adding a second lane in each direction, with a middle turn lane and sidewalks, between Summit Drive and Legion Road. Construction will begin later this spring. The project, estimated to cost $10.2 million, is funded through Governor Quinn's historic Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. The improvements represent the last segment of a long-term, $43.7 million expansion of nearly six miles of Illinois 8 from Rosedale Road in East Peoria to Legion Road in Washington, a stretch that accommodates almost 19,000 cars and trucks a day.
Governor Quinn is also pleased to announce that IDOT is committing $2.2 million to complete the engineering and design plans for replacing the BNSF viaduct over Illinois Route 29 in Chillicothe. The project will replace the two existing viaducts with a single structure carrying three mainline tracks, a yard track, a service road and a pedestrian walkway. Illinois 29 will be widened to two lanes in each direction, with a middle turn lane, sidewalks and a bike path, between Truitt Avenue and the Senachwine Creek Bridge. The engineering and design plans will cost about $2.2 million and require approximately three years to complete. Construction is estimated to cost $22 million.
"These improvements will add much-needed road and rail capacity in the Peoria area," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider. "I am eager to work with our local partners to see both projects completed as soon as possible."
The six-year, $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital program in the state's history. Since Governor Quinn helped pass Illinois Jobs Now! in 2009, the program has created an estimated 1,500 jobs in the Peoria area.