Route 66 getting a $3.3 million spruce up in advance of its 100th anniversary

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has announced seven awards, totaling $3.3 million, through the Route 66 Grant Program. Funding will be used for projects designed to attract visitors to the historic Route 66, leading up to the 100th Anniversary in 2026.

“Route 66 begins in Chicago, travels Illinois, and spreads across the country delighting millions and forming an essential part of our nation,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These investments will enhance visitor experiences and build on existing attractions to ensure Illinois and Route 66 remain vibrant elements of American culture and tradition for many years to come.”

Projects focused on future transportation and tourism trends such as electric vehicles will be prioritized.

Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau will receive $892,000 for the design, engineering, and installation of electric signs and EV stations along with renovations to the Ariston Cafe and a mural project at the Route 66 Skyview Drive.

“Southwestern Illinois is filled with a rich history and hidden gems built for exploration by visitors from near and far,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea). “By investing in the historic Route 66, the State of Illinois is prioritizing our world-class tourism industry while promoting a clean future with critical connections to EV charging infrastructure along the highway.”

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