Work will begin Thursday, July 5 to build a bridge that will carry Route 136 traffic over the future Route 336. The project is the beginning of the Macomb Bypass.
Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider came to the area for the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place on a hot and humid afternoon in a grassy field just west of Macomb. Schneider was joined by politicians, labor leaders, city and county workers, and others.
“By completing this project (the bypass), I think it's going to be able to draw additional tourists to the area -- additional travelers through the area that will need to stop here and take advantage of the amenities the area has to offer,” Schneider said.
“Also, it's going to be critical for those freight movements. There is a port in Quincy that's being developed and as we see the changes to the Panama Canal come to completion, we're going to see more freight movement coming out of the Quincy area and I think this is going to be a critical link for that.”
She thinks about 50 jobs will be created to build the bridge.
An I-DOT news release said the bridge will cost $4.5 million. It should be completed by next spring. A new bridge carrying West Adams Street traffic over the bypass is scheduled to be completed by September.
Schneider said the dirt work required to build the entire bypass will begin next year. That will cost $34.4 million. It will cost another $70 million to complete the bypass by paving the dirt work. It's not known when that will happen.
“We haven't identified where that $70 million would be coming from,” Schneider said.
Those who spoke during the groundbreaking ceremony said the four-lane bypass will improve safety for motorists and help the region's economy. Macomb Mayor Mike Inman said efforts are underway to extend the city limits to the bypass “...so that we can take full advantage of what economic opportunities will undoubtedly come from this expansion.”