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IDOT in 2021: Rebuild Illinois continues with completed projects, launch of new major projects and initiatives

I-74 Bridge

I-74 Mississippi Bridge in Quad Cities

I-57/74 interchange in Champaign

The Illinois Department of Transportation, under the leadership of Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman, continued to make transformational investments in infrastructure, people and communities through the Rebuild Illinois capital program, with major projects delivered or coming to life across the state in 2021.

“This past year was perhaps the most eventful in the history of IDOT,” 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 year two of Gov. Pritzker’s $33.2 billion 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.

Additionally, with the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passing in November 2021, Illinois is estimated to receive about $17.8 billion over the next five years, ensuring the sustained investment in a safe, equitable, resilient, multimodal transportation system for many years to come.

Some of IDOT’s many achievements this year include:

Interstate 74 Mississippi River Bridge in the Quad Cities: The $1.2 billion bridge opened Dec. 3 following four years of construction. A joint project with Iowa, the bridge is one of the biggest projects in state history.

I-57/74 interchange in Champaign: Construction began on this new, $216.8 million project to replace a 50-year-old interchange, providing safer and more efficient access for commuters, freight activity and all interstate motorists.

Jane Byrne Interchange: The project entered its final phase with reconstruction of the I-90/94 mainline. Remaining work will add lanes, reconstruct several exit ramps and build a new collector-distributor ramp on the east side of the expressway for downtown exits.

I-80 in Will County: Construction wrapped up on expanding I-80 to six lanes between Interstate 355 and U.S. 30 in Joliet and New Lenox. The work was tied to the reconstruction of the U.S. 30 interchange and a prelude to six-year plan to rebuild 16 miles of I-80 – a $1.2 billion project that is currently in progress.

McClugage Bridge: Work advanced on replacing the eastbound McClugage Bridge that carries U.S. 150 in Peoria. One of six bridges spanning the Illinois River in the Peoria area, the $167 million project ended the year about 40% complete. The new structure will improve capacity, increase safety, reduce travel times and provide multimodal access with bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

I-57 in Southern Illinois: Work will be underway in January on a $67.6 million expansion of 9 miles of I-57 north of Illinois 149 to south of Illinois 154. The project continues the ongoing effort to expand I-57 from four to six lanes in West Frankfort.

Rail: Ground was broken on a new federal and state effort with several railroads to reconfigure an outdated network of tracks and signals while replacing the 97-year-old Lenox Tower in the Metro East. The project, expected to conclude in 2022, is modernizing rail operations, safety and mobility.

Ports: IDOT sought project proposals for $110 million in funding to improve public ports and help modernize and revitalize the state’s marine transportation system. The Port Facilities Capital Investment Grant Program coincides with the release of IDOT’s new Illinois Marine Transportation System Plan, which determined the state’s ports create $36 billion in economic activity annually and support 160,000 jobs.

Airports: IDOT awarded $94 million to improve public airports throughout the state. The funding unlocks $11.5 million in local contributions for a total investment of $105 million and represents the largest statewide capital investment program for airports in state history.

Working with local partners: The governor and IDOT announced the third and fourth rounds of $250 million each in Rebuild Illinois-funded grants to advance municipal, township, and county projects across the state. With the latest rounds, $1 billion has been distributed by IDOT to address local transportation needs.

Awards: IDOT received top national honors from Women’s Transportation Seminar International, a professional association that promotes the development and advancement of women in transportation. Osman received the WTS Recognition Honorable Ray LaHood Award for his efforts to promote the advancement of women and minorities and help elevate the reputation of professionals in the transportation industry. Office of Business and Workforce Diversity Director Pam Simon was named Woman of the Year for her contributions to transportation and efforts to advance women and minorities through programs and other opportunities.