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Central Illinois Highway Makeover Funded After Two Decades of Planning

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MORTON, Ill. (AP) - One of the biggest highway makeover projects in central Illinois’ recent history is a step closer to fruition.

After two decades of planning, state funds have been dedicated for a project at the interchange at Interstates 74 and 155 in the Peoria area, according to a story published Sunday in the Peoria Journal Star. The project calls for additional lanes, wider lanes, better lighting and new ramps, along with repaving and widening of roads between Morton and East Peoria.

The project is estimated to cost around $85 million. Bids will go out in a year, construction is set to begin in 2013 and the project is estimated to wrap up the following year, the newspaper reported.

“This is a major reconstruction,” said Maureen Addis, a program development engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation in Peoria. She said some 35,000 motorists travel Interstate 74 between Morton and Peoria each day.

The delay in construction was tied to state funds, said Joe Crowe, a regional engineer for IDOT.

The project also calls for replacing tunnels in Morton with overpass structures, removing an abandoned rail line and installing storm water drainage and cameras along the corridor.

IDOT officials said the agency will post regular updates about the project online, including on its Facebook page.

“This project will bring the bridge up to current regulations, provide for a safer thoroughfare for motorists and move traffic along better; it’s work that needs to be done,” IDOT spokesman Brian Williamsen said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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