Shovel-Ready Road Projects May Get Funding Soon - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Shovel-Ready Road Projects May Get Funding Soon

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A bill on Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's desk will help fix roads and bridges in QCA counties and, lawmakers say, provide jobs. $32.8 million would be allocated to local, shovel-ready projects.

Many people say the roads involved could really use the work. After the harsh winter, around 40 miles worth of major roads within Whiteside, Carroll and Henry County should be getting resurfaced soon, along with some bridge work. The biggest project would be US Route 6 to Illinois 8 in Henry County. While local lawmakers say taking care of these roads should lead to economic development, some residents say the money could be put to better use.

"It's bumpy and needs a lot of work," local commuter Ron Goetz said. "I mean the road is bad, but I don't see how it costs that much."

Colona resident Fred Friend, who often uses US 6, says the route has seen better days.

"Half of it is decent," he said. "The other half of it is in dire straights."

Resurfacing it to Illinois 81, a 17.3 mile stretch, would cost 16.8 million dollars. Goetz says, despite its condition, the construction should wait.

"No, I don't think it's worth that much to fix that road," he said. "You're talking a million a mile. That's for a two-lane road."

Friend says it's time.

"I think that's a good thing," he said. "Needs to be done."

Some local lawmakers are also on board, putting the bill on the floor right before they left session in May.

"We're very proud that, out of that amount of money, we could bring that into this district," State Representative Mike Smiddy said.

He says this, and the three other road projects within Henry, Whiteside and Carroll County, had been on the Illinois Department of Transportation's construction plan for a while.

"It was about time that some of these projects are taking into account, and we're able to get them onto the scene with IDOT and get them started here in the district," he said.

Representative Smiddy says taking care of the district's roads relates to economic development.

"When factories or other businesses are looking to relocate to areas in Illinois, we can show that we have good roads and bridges that will sustain whatever their company is wanting to do," he said.

He says the construction should lead to more jobs in the area. Illinois 40 in Whiteside and Carroll County, Illinois 78 at the south edge of Morrison in Whiteside County, and the I-74 and I-90 interchange to Illinois 82 in Henry County are also part of the project. There is no timeline on the work yet.

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