Illinois awarded $52.8 million for Bloomington project to improve rural transportation and mobility

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wound up 2023 with a $52.8 million federal grant to rebuild Illinois 9 in Bloomington.

The grant will pay for improvements along six miles of the corridor, including resurfacing, curb and gutter replacement, sidewalk and ADA improvements. Bicycle facilities, including bike lanes and shared bike/pedestrian paths, will be included, as well as traffic signal upgrades and drainage improvements. The project will also relocate a bus stop and improve bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the area.

The first of five contracts covering the improvements is tentative to be awarded in the spring, with construction to begin soon afterward. Other contracts will be let over the coming years.

Funding is from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which awarded $645.3 million nationally in the second year of the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program to help communities throughout the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, rural roads face a disproportionally high rate of fatalities. A significant proportion of rural roads and bridges are in poor condition. The awards will improve the safety and reliability of movement of people and freight, as well as improve quality of life for rural residents, through investment in critical roads, bridges and other transportation systems.

“This significant investment not only enhances our infrastructure but also paves the way for safer, more efficient travel for our residents,” said Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe. “This transformative project marks a milestone for Bloomington’s growth and underscores our commitment to creating a vibrant, connected city for all.”

Under the Rebuild Illinois capital program, IDOT is revitalizing infrastructure across the state. Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a combined total of $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. The capital program is the largest in state history and the first to include all modes of transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

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