Illinois is still trying to “rebuild”

Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL (WEHT) – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is still trying to “rebuild Illinois.”

“This past year was perhaps the most eventful in the history of IDOT,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “Because of Rebuild Illinois, we made history in 2021 with generational improvements to highways, bridges, rail, transit, waterways, airports as well as bike and pedestrian infrastructure. We head into 2022 prepared to build an even safer, more equitable transportation system for all of Illinois.”

Through Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, IDOT was able to manage approximately $2.4 billion in improvements to 1,314 miles of highway and 142 bridges, as well as 194 safety improvements, in the 2021 fiscal year – the second full year of the historic, bipartisan capital program. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history and the first in nearly a decade, but also the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

Some of the projects that were finished this year are as follows:

  • The new $1.2 billion Interstate 74 Mississippi River bridge in the Quad Cities. That opened to traffic Dec. 3.
  • Lincoln Service, Carl Sandburg/Illinois Zephyr and Illini/Saluki state-supported Amtrak trains resumed full service in July after being limited due to COVID-19.
  • In December, Gov. Pritzker and the department awarded $94 million through Rebuild Illinois to improve public airports throughout the state. This is marked as the largest statewide capital investment for airports in state history.
  • In the spring, IDOT awarded $7 million for 21 projects that upgraded roads to accommodate local truck traffic, out of hopes it would also create jobs and boost economic activity throughout the state.
  • In June, Gov. Pritzker awarded $106 million through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program to expand travel options and improve the quality of life in communities.
  • Also in 2021, IDOT sought proposals for projects that will help children walk and bike to school through the Safe Routes to School program. Safe Routes to School supports projects that improve safety and reduce traffic in areas around elementary and middle schools.
  • The governor signed House Bill 253, requiring IDOT to implement a performance-based program to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the state’s transportation system.
  • An improved winter road conditions map debuted for the state.
  • Efforts by IDOT to promote pollinator habitat and the monarch butterfly continued going strong in 2021 with the opening of the Litchfield Route 66 Prairie.
  • The Interstate 255 rebuild in the Metro East, one of the first Rebuild Illinois projects to fix one of the worst roads in the state, won top honors for technology and innovation from the Midwest chapter of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials.
  • Proposals from public port operators also were sought to distribute almost $110 million in funding via Rebuild Illinois to modernize and revitalize the state’s marine transportation system.

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