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Pritzker lays out six-year timeline for $1.2B I-80 reconstruction project
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Pritzker lays out six-year timeline for $1.2B I-80 reconstruction project

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday unveiled a six-year timeline for the $1.2 billion reconstruction of Interstate 80 through Will County.

CHICAGO — Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday unveiled a six-year timeline for the $1.2 billion reconstruction of Interstate 80 through Will County, a centerpiece of the $45 billion infrastructure improvement plan passed during his first year in office.

After preliminary work that began this summer, reconstruction of a 16-mile stretch from Ridge Road in Minooka east to U.S. 30 near Joliet will begin next year with work from Ridge Road east to the DuPage River.

“In recent decades, this stretch of I-80 has also come to represent the disinvested infrastructure that Illinois used to be notorious for,” Pritzker said during a news conference Monday in New Lenox. “That’s all changing.”

The overall project is expected to be completed in 2027 and will include reconstruction of aging bridges over the Des Plaines River, work that is slated to begin in 2026.

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Development along the I-80 corridor has boomed in recent years, with an influx of warehouses for Amazon and logistics companies. Along with that has come heavy truck traffic and lengthy delays on the aging roadway.

While playing up the importance of the improvements, officials also urged drivers to be patient with the process.

“This area will continue to be an active construction zone for the next several years,” Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omar Osman said. “Drive like you work here.”

Dubbed “Rebuild Illinois,” Pritzker’s infrastructure plan was approved with bipartisan support in 2019 and is paid for through a series of tax and fee increases, including a doubling of the gas tax to 38 cents per gallon. The law also tied the gas tax to the rate of inflation, increasing to 39 cents per gallon on July 1.

Interstate 80 bridge over the Des Plaines River

The Interstate 80 bridge over the Des Plaines River can be seen April 1 in Joliet. President Joe Biden will announce his trillion infrastructure package this week, and the hefty federal spending program could mean improvements for Illinois and Chicago. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is in the middle of his own six-year Rebuild Illinois capital project. A boost in federal funds could speed up much of that work and allow the state to complete more projects on its wish list. 

The plan calls for spending a total of $33.2 billion on transportation improvements, with $5.2 billion spent through the first two years on improving more than 3,000 miles of highway and nearly 300 bridges, according to the governor’s office.

President Joe Biden has been trying to push an infrastructure plan through Congress, but his $1 trillion proposal has gotten caught up in infighting among moderate and progressive Democrats over a separate $3.5 trillion spending package for social programs. Pritzker met with Biden and a bipartisan group of mayors and governors in July to discuss the president’s agenda.

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