A severely deteriorated stretch of Interstate Highway 55 in DuPage and Cook counties would be resurfaced, along with a portion of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and Skokie Highway in Lake County under a six-year state highway improvement plan announced Wednesday.
Those are among the Chicago-area highlights in an $8.6 billion statewide road construction program that is aimed primarily at improving 1,845 miles of highways and replacing or refurbishing 384 bridges.
The state portion of that amount, roughly one-fourth, is based on conservative projections of available funding. But the remainder would come from federal sources, which are subject to greater uncertainty.
Funding also targets previously announced projects by the CTA, Metra, Amtrak and other public transportation agencies, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which plans to spend $14.3 billion on roads, mass transit, high-speed rail and runway upgrades at suburban and downstate airports.
Roughly $2.1 billion of the total road funding would be directed toward the Chicago region over the six years, IDOT officials said.
Gov. Pat Quinn unveiled IDOT’s 2015-2020 construction program in Springfield on Wednesday, just days after receiving “positive feedback’’ from bond rating agencies about the state’s fiscal 2015 budget plan, he said. Yet the $8.6 billion highway construction budget is smaller than the $9.5 billion 2014-2019 program that it replaces.
The condition of state-maintained roads and bridges is projected to worsen — from 82 percent of roads and 93 percent of bridges in acceptable shape currently, to 61 percent for roads and 87 percent for bridges at the end of fiscal 2020, if there are no changes in revenue, Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said.
The availability of federal transportation funding is uncertain, in part because the nation’s Highway Trust Fund is on the brink of insolvency and current transportation spending legislation expires Oct. 1.
In that light, Schneider said she directed IDOT planners to make “a conservative estimate of what is available from federal sources,’’ which typically provide 75 percent of highway funding.
She said IDOT’s strategy is not based on the possible adoption by the governor and the General Assembly of a new state capital improvement program, which is considered unlikely in an election year.
“With the winter we have just got through, we think we have prioritized the (available) resources with the projected needs,’’ Schneider said.
The plan’s Chicago-area highlights include:
$108 million for bridge replacements and resurfacing on I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) in Chicago, from the Dan Ryan Expressway to Lake Shore Drive;
Resurfacing 15 miles of I-55 from Weber Road in DuPage County to County Line Road in Cook County.
Resurfacing a 41/2-mile section of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, from Belmont Avenue to Monroe Drive, sometime between fiscal 2016 and 2020.
Resurfacing U.S. Highway 41, also known as Skokie Highway, from the Tri-State Tollway to Illinois Highway 21 in Lake County.
In addition, the construction plan reflects the state’s goal to reintroduce passenger rail service between Union Station in Chicago and Rockford and the Quad Cities.
More details about projects in the multi-year program are at www.dot.il.gov/press/MYPhighlights.pdf.
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