PEORIA — Replacing the eastbound span of the McClugage Bridge over the next four years may be the first, most visible project locally from an $11 billion statewide construction plan.
But that $220 million project is far from the only work that'll be done here over the next six years, according to a copy of an Illinois Department of Transportation plan released Tuesday morning. State Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said the plan is designed to make "sure we're giving true value to the people of Illinois."
Also among the priorities is replacing the deck of the Murray Baker Bridge at some point between fiscal years 2020 and 2024 — beginning as soon as next summer. It's long been labeled in need of repair.
That $35 million project could mean two of the area's major bridges under construction at once, for at least part of that time.
The McClugage work, first discussed five years ago, is slated to get under way in the coming year and will see the eastbound span demolished and rebuilt — twice as wide as the existing eastbound bridge, with three lanes to match the westbound bridge, and with the addition of space for wider shoulders and bicycle lanes, and even a scenic overlook.
Construction there will likely last until 2023.
"We made it a priority because this is a major economic engine for the state of Illinois," Rauner said of the project, which he said had been at risk of slipping down the order of construction along with other projects because of budget uncertainty the last several years.
And one edge of a third bridge could also be in the mix.
The plan additionally calls for spending $40.2 million on replacing part of the Cedar Street Bridge interchange with Illinois Route 29 in East Peoria — an area that now features tight turns and little merging space for motorists. Land acquisition would begin in the next 12 months, with work starting sometime before 2023-24.
Other work proposed in the area includes along Interstate 474 from its intersection with Interstate 74 in Peoria County all the way to the Illinois River. That will feature resurfacing, ramp repair, bridge rehabilitation where I-474 becomes Illinois Route 6, and additional work at the overpasses over Kickapoo Creek, the Burlington Northern Railroad and bridges at Illinois Route 116 and Airport Road and Closen Road for a cost of $42 million.
Parts of Interstate 74 from just west of Kickapoo-Edwards Road to just east of Illinois Route 78 would see resurfacing, and bridge repairs at Bell School Road and Maher Road for a total cost of $22.3 million.
Rauner said IDOT has changed its strategy for how it evaluates which construction work needs to be done, and now relies on an asset management plan and a "value-driven project prioritization process."
That, he said, means "we are no longer relying on the old strategy of worst first," or targeting roads that have already declined.
"Our old strategy was like buying a new car and then not changing the oil and you just wait until the car stopped running and then buy a new car," he said.
The value-driven notion means officials are "looking at the entire economic impact of a road or bridge project" rather than just traffic statistics, Rauner said, aiming for projects with more substantial overall economic benefit.
Blankenhorn said the statewide effort over six years will address nearly 2,000 miles of roadway and more than 500 bridges.
In the 12-county region that includes Peoria and Tazewell counties, the state is expected to spend about $671 million over that time, according to data from IDOT.
Chris Kaergard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.