Improved Roads Coming Soon, IDOT Proposes Highway Improvement Plan to Strengthen Roads

(Photo: Bloomington Public Works)

(Photo: Bloomington Public Works)

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Fiscal Year 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program will pave the road to improvement for statewide and local travelers.

Regarding Bloomington-Normal's immediate future, in 2019, IDOT plans to resurface and make ADA improvements at Bloomington's Empire Street and Veterans Parkway intersection. The project area includes Empire Street, from Empire Crossing to Prospect Road and Veterans Parkway, from north of Washington Street to Clearwater Avenue.

Additionally, IDOT aims to repair the bridge over Norfolk Southern Railroad on Center Street, from Kentucky Alley to Oakland Avenue.

The proposal totals $9.8 million in local highway projects in the Bloomington-Normal area. Overall, IDOT projects $11.05 billion available for the  Fiscal Year 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program.

That money helps maintain state roads and bridges, ensure Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and assiduous maintenance of the National Highway. Other funded endeavors under the plan include safety improvements, modernizations and expansions.

Perhaps the biggest expansion is the construction of a new Interstate 74 bridge, stretching across the Mississippi River. The program allocates $165 million for the endeavor.

Road maintenance is a gargantuan undertaking. For example, Illinois features over 7,100 miles of state-maintained roads 4,094 bridges, according to the official Proposed Highway Improvement Program document.  

Under the new program, approximately 1,945 miles of state-maintained roads and bridges will be reconstructed or repaired. Simultaneously, IDOT will work to improve public right-of-way accessibility under ADA guidelines.

The program's money trail creates a straightforward path. According to the official Proposed Highway Improvement Program document, $9.06 billion— 82 percent of the program's funding total—comes from federal aid. $1.5 billion comes from 2015's Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.  

Furthermore, IDOT expects $1.2 billion— 12 percent of total funding— from state funding. State Motor fuel taxes and vehicle registration taxes generate most of the program's state funding. Local funds provide the program's remainder.