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State

Capital bill funds for I-80 bridges confirmed

Traffic flows along the Interstate 80 bridges on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Joliet, Ill. Inspectors this week are completing an annual examination of the Interstate 80 bridges that state officials say is done to assure they are safe to drive, despite the need for repairs.
Traffic flows along the Interstate 80 bridges on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Joliet, Ill. Inspectors this week are completing an annual examination of the Interstate 80 bridges that state officials say is done to assure they are safe to drive, despite the need for repairs.

A state transportation spokesman confirmed Friday that the new state capital bill will fund replacement of the Interstate 80 bridges over the Des Plaines River.

The $45 billion capital bill approved a week ago funds roads, bridges and public construction projects, as well as providing funding for local nonprofits.

One of the biggest projects in the bill is $848 million in improvements planned for Interstate 80.

That spending will include replacement of the Des Plaines River bridges, Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell said Friday.

"Between the capital bill and the bridge work IDOT has already programmed, the I-80 improvements made possible by the capital program will include replacing the bridges over the Des Plaines River," Tridgell said in an email.

IDOT also plans extra lanes at selected interchange areas and smaller bridge replacements along a 16-mile stretch of I-80 running from Route 30 in New Lenox to Ridge Road in Minooka.

State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, said a timetable for bridge replacement at the Des Plaines river probably will be included in the a six-year plan from IDOT expected in coming months.

"We're still waiting for IDOT to come out with their multiyear plan," Walsh said. "That will set the stage for what transpires over the next six years."

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