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Several sites scheduled for road improvments in Morris

Published: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Several sites near Morris are scheduled for road improvements in the next five years, a few even sooner than that.

The Illinois Department of Transportation on Wednesday held a public information session at the Morris Municipal Services Facility to get input from area residents and business interests on those plans, which are part of IDOT’s 2014-19 Multi-Year Program.

Tom Magolan, of IDOT, said Illinois 47, from around Interstate 80 north to the county line, will be under construction very soon. The project is already fully funded and will go out to bid in November.

The highway will be reconstructed and widened to four lanes, with enough shoulder room for bicycles.

It will be a two-year project.

An area I-80 overpass is scheduled for total replacement, as well, in 2014.

The Minooka Road bridge, one mile west of Minooka, will be replaced.

A bridge will also be replaced next year on I-55 over Grant Creek at Blodgett Road.

There will also be a bridge deck overlay in Wilmington, along Illinois 53 over the Kankakee River.

The bridge over a Fox River tributary just north of Norway on Illinois 71 will also be replaced next year.

Three bridges are scheduled for replacement on U.S. 170, south of Seneca, all between N. 21st Street and N. 17th Road.

With recent national news regarding crumbling infrastructure on our country’s roadways, Magolan said many bridges across the state have been targeted for replacement this coming year and through 2019.

“We always consider the most critical areas first,” he said at the meeting. “They are not so unsafe that you can’t be on them, but it’s time for them to go.”

The IDOT representatives presented maps of District 3 and project priorities for the next five to seven years.

The Multi-Year Program for fiscal 2014-19 totals about $9.5 billion for state road and bridge systems, and focuses on maintenance and improvement of the road system and modal systems like transit, rail or bike facilities.

On the IDOT maps is a section of Illinois 47, from Southmor Road to Lowery Road, that has been determined to be ready for immediate improvement.

The section of Illinois 47 in Morris, from U.S. 6 West (Bedford Road) to U.S. 6 East is also designated as in need of immediate improvement, but is classified as “backlogged.”

Within five years, IDOT’s plan is also to do construction on U.S. 6, from Morris east to Channahon; on Illinois 47, north of Granville Road; and on Illinois 113, east of Illinois 47 through to Diamond.

The information session also displayed maps of the first statewide Illinois Bicycle Transportation Plan and asked for input on what the public would like to see changed about the trails.

“This is our second round of outreach,” IDOT spokesperson Chris Schmidt said of the bike transportation plan.

“We are looking for regional connectivity. ... Our goal is to connect the various routes to make them a more accessible mode of transportation.”

IDOT has already hired a planning team to complete a nonmotorized chapter of the states long-range transportation plan.

It is expected to be completed by December of this year.

Schmidt said having better bike transportation routes is good all around. It helps improve air quality and reduces roadway congestion.

He said he already had one comment by an area resident who requested a bike path from Pontiac to Dwight along old Route 66 and up into Will County.

For information on the Illinois State Bike Plan, visit www.illinoisbikeplan.com.

For information on the area’s Transportation Improvement Plan, visit www.dot.il.gov/opp/publications.html.

Comments may be sent to IDOT’s District 3 Office at 700 East Norris Drive, Ottawa, IL, by Nov. 1.

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