$11B Ill. road, bridge plan has new ‘asset management’ focus

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Updated Jun 4, 2018
Illinois Gov. Bruce RaunerIllinois Gov. Bruce Rauner

A six-year plan announced by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner would infuse $11.05 billion in roads and bridges and spend more on smaller repairs for long-term savings.

The focus of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Multi-Year Proposed Highway Improvement Program would be creating jobs, improving the state’s economy, as well as improving safety, Rauner says.

“Investing in transportation creates jobs and economic opportunity, improves safety and makes Illinois a better place to raise a family,” Rauner said. “This plan will make Illinois more competitive while protecting the interests of the taxpayers.”

The Illinois DOT says the plan is a departure from the state’s previous transportation plans because it incorporates smaller repairs to save money over the long run rather than focusing on a “worst-first” philosophy. This “asset management” approach uses data to reduce the rate of road and bridge deterioration to prevent the need for costlier rehabs in the future. About 66 percent of the plan’s funding goes toward maintaining roads and bridges.

“The department will continue to address road and bridge needs to ensure our system is safe, but will also spend money on low-cost treatments to preserve those roads and bridges and keep them in acceptable condition,” IDOT’s plan says.

The plan calls for improving 2,695 miles of miles of state and local roads and 525 state-maintained bridges. Another 922,933 square feet of local bridges would be upgraded. It also allocates $421 million to lower-cost treatments to preserve state-maintained roads and bridges to keep them in acceptable condition.

The DOT says that its previous goals of keeping roads at 90 percent acceptable and bridges at 93 percent acceptable can’t be reached with current funding levels, and the department views the new plan as a more realistic approach.

The new plan focuses on five priorities:

  • Road maintenance – $2.57 billion for reconstruction, resurfacing, widening and pavement preservation.
  • Bridges – $2.5 billion for bridge replacement and rehabilitation, minor structure repairs and preservation projects. The DOT will focus on deck square footage rather than number of bridges.
  • Safety and system modernization – $1.04 billion for projects such as interchange reconstruction, interstate safety projects, and traffic and safety improvements.
  • System expansion – $1.03 billion for major projects, such as new bridges and bridge replacements that increase capacity, additional lanes, new interchanges and strategic regional arteries. Specific projects include a new Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River, additional lanes on Illinois 47/U.S. 30 between Sugar Grove and Yorkville, and engineering work for additional capacity on Interstate 39 from north of Blackhawk Road to Interstate 90.
  • System support – $535 million for statewide or district engineering, land acquisition, training and other miscellaneous projects.