Illinois DOT Touts 2016 Successes, 2017 Plans

DOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said the agency finished more than 700 highway projects that ranged from routine resurfacings to multiyear reconstructions of interstates, bridges, and interchanges. On tap in 2017: encouraging autonomous vehicles.

The Illinois Department of Transportation recapped its 2016 successes in a Jan. 4 release, with Gov. Bruce Rauner and DOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn saying its infrastructure investments during the year will make the state a more attractive place to work, raise a family, and do business in 2017 and beyond. "Illinois' transportation system is an asset that separates us from everyone else," Blankenhorn said. "The progress we made in 2016 will pay dividends far into the future, but also highlights the need to continually find new ways to invest in our infrastructure to ensure long-term economic growth."

The agency finished more than 700 highway projects that ranged from basic resurfacings of less than a mile to multiyear reconstructions of interstates, bridges, and interchanges on major arteries such as Interstate 90-94, Interstate 55, and U.S. 45. The recap said the Interstate 57/70 expansion came to a conclusion in Effingham, one of the biggest projects in eastern central Illinois in several years and a project that brings improved safety and traffic flow on a major freight corridor.

During 2017, IDOT is partnering with Iowa to start construction on the new I-74 bridge in the Quad Cities, and it will be one of the largest bridge projects in state history.

The 2017 plans include completion of preliminary engineering for a lane expansion on Interstate 290, substantial completion of construction on an $80 million replacement bridge linking Savannah to Sabula, Iowa, via U.S. 52/Illinois 63 -- a project that requires a 150-foot shift of the navigation channel to the west, coordinated through the U.S. Coast Guard, and involves BNSF Railroad, which operates two busy tracks under the bridge.

IDOT also will explore ways to facilitate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies, the recap states. "We are thrilled with the progress we made in 2016," Blankenhorn said. "And I am confident we will see even more success in 2017 as we continue to seek innovative ways to provide safe, cost-effective transportation for Illinois that improves quality of life and economic prosperity."

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