PEORIA — More than $100 million in local road projects hang in the balance if state lawmakers don't pass some form of a budget by July.
The state Department of Transportation has warned that all road projects it's involved in — either directly or through funds flowing to local governments — could be halted at the end of the month. That's when the fiscal year ends, and money cannot be spent without a budget — or court order — in place to authorize spending.
Peoria County officials sounded the alarm earlier in the week about two bridge projects on Trivoli Road and Lancaster Road that would halt, but the effects would be considerably more widespread across the 12-county IDOT District 4.
Last year, when a similar stoppage was looming, IDOT secretary Randy Blankenhorn warned of the problems of cutting off work for thousands of employees and contractors, and noted that such an unplanned halt to work adds extra expense.
"We don't just flip a switch and it stops," he said. Work areas have to be made safe and traffic patterns changed, and some work has to be re-done when construction resumes.
Across the state, that adds millions of dollars in "completely unnecessary costs," he said, as well as pushing future projects down the pipeline.
Among the impacts locally if road work stops:
• Some $13.5 million in structural repairs on the Shade-Lohmann Bridge carrying Interstate 474 over the Illinois River would be halted. So far, only $1.2 million of that work has been completed.
• Roadwork along I-74 in Knox County at County Highway 40 and County Highway 9 totaling nearly $20 million would also be suspended. About $7.5 million of the project is complete.
• Guardrail upgrades along I-74 in Peoria and Knox counties totalling $2.7 million would be put on ice.
• The pavement widening of Illinois Route 116 east of Hanna City would also be put on hold. So far, only $400,000 has been spent on the $3.8 million project.
Other local projects are also at risk. Among them:
• The roundabout at Alta Lane and Radnor Road, a $1.9 million project, won't begin.
• Work on the Manito Road bridge over the Mackinaw River would pause in Tazewell County, with $3 million already spent on the $4.4 million project.
• Pavement reconstruction on County Highway 12 near Washburn in Marshall County. It's a $1.2 million project on which only $95,000 has been spent.
Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.