IDOT's new spending plan includes widening eastbound Kennedy

There's a little more gas in IDOT's tank this year thanks to federal aid, but the $11.2 billion multiyear highway and bridge plan is still eclipsed by previous years.

Illinois Department of Transportation leaders make no attempt to hide a stagnant spending situation, which is influenced by budget gridlock in Springfield and declining gas taxes.

"Revenue projections for transportation do not meet the needs of the state, and the condition of our system will continue to deteriorate," IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a statement Thursday.

Major projects planned include widening the eastbound Kennedy Expressway from Cumberland Avenue to Harlem Avenue, fixing 38 Kennedy bridges, and continuing work on the Jane Byrne Interchange where the Kennedy, Dan Ryan and Eisenhower expressways converge.

The plan, which stretches from 2017 to 2022, is $2.8 million richer than last year's version, thanks to a new federal transportation law that's giving Illinois about $134 million more a year. New bargaining agreements also are saving the state about $65 million a year, IDOT said.

However six years ago in 2010, IDOT budgeted $12.8 billion for its multiyear program.

The state will focus on maintenance and improvements, which include the massive Jane Byrne Interchange rebuild, which is ongoing, and a new Cumberland Avenue flyover bridge that will reduce congestion and weaving at the Kennedy Expressway.

"This is positive news that was expected when Congress passed a five-year transportation bill late last year," former Regional Transportation Authority chief and University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Transportation Center Director Steve Schlickman said.

"It still leaves tens of billions dollars of highway and transit projects left to be funded to bring our system up to a state of good repair. We need a new state-funded multiyear capital bill to complement the federal funding."

Here are some proposed highlights from 2017 to 2022.

• IDOT will be evaluating whether to add interchanges on I-55 at Route 129, Lorenzo Road and County Farm Road in Cook, DuPage and Will counties.

• Bridge replacement at I-290 and Salt Creek in Addison.

• Adding lanes on Half Day Road between Quentin Road and Mundelein in Long Grove and Kildeer.

• Bridge replacement on Route 47 at the Kishwaukee River in McHenry County.

• Bridge repairs on Route 53 from Rand Road to Algonquin Road in Rolling Meadows, Palatine and Arlington Heights.

• Reconstruction on Butterfield Road from Route 53 to I-355 in Downers Grove.

• Improvements on Barrington Road from Algonquin Road to Mundhank Road in South Barrington.

Widening the eastbound Kennedy is an important move as the Illinois tollway will complete adding another lane in both directions to the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) by the end of 2016.

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