Updated: Engineering money for I-57/74 interchange in next round of state plan

Updated: Engineering money for I-57/74 interchange in next round of state plan

SPRINGFIELD — State officials are programming money for the next phase of engineering on the daunting interchange at Interstates 57 and 74 northwest of Champaign, and local officials are hoping the project will be shovel-ready sometime next year.

An Illinois Department of Transportation official said in February that construction itself could cost as much as $135 million and be six years out. But Champaign County Board Chairman Al Kurtz said Wednesday's announcement of $2.5 million for the next design phase is an important step if officials are to start seeking grant money or other funds to fix the dangerous interchange.

The engineering money for the interchange was one in a list of projects IDOT hopes to complete between 2015 and 2020, according to a transportation construction plan the state announced on Wednesday.

Here's the announcement on the state's website.

Also included on that list are millions of dollars' worth of resurfacing on I-57 and I-74 in Champaign County and $4.4 million worth of repairs to taxilane and aprons at Willard Airport.

The interchange at I-57 and I-74 has been notorious for accidents — some fatal — in past years, and transportation officials have been pushing for a replacement.

It's an important project "obviously for safety reasons," Kurtz said. "It's a very old and antiquated system."

Kurtz said he spoke with transportation officials last month who assured him the money was coming for the next phase.

There's still no money for the expensive replacement of the interchange, but Kurtz said having a plan ready for construction is an important step in finding state or federal funds.

"That's what I'm hoping for," Kurtz said.

Area projects in state plan

State officials on Wednesday unveiled an $8.6 billion transportation construction program for 2015 through 2020. Here are the highlights for Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding area:

— $2.5 million for the next engineering phase of the interchange at Interstates 57 and 74.

— $29.6 million for resurfacing, guardrail and bridge deck repairs on 24.3 miles of I-74 from University Avenue in Urbana to U.S. 150 west of Danville.

— $14.2 million for resurfacing and bridge deck repair on I-57 from Sadorus Road to one mile south of I-74.

— $1.3 million for a Curtis Road pedestrian overpass at I-57, contingent on local agencies building a bike path.

— $10.1 million for resurfacing and safety improvements on 8.8 miles of I-74 from the Dewitt County line to 1.2 miles west of the Champaign County line.

— $8.6 million for resurfacing and safety improvements on 7.2 miles of I-74 from just west of Illinois 47 in Mahomet to just west of I-57.

— $9 million for resurfacing on 6.1 miles of U.S. 45 from Tanner Street in Rantoul to 1.5 miles south of Thomasboro.

— $3.6 million for resurfacing, guardrail and pedestrian ramps on 15.1 miles of U.S. 45 from Tolono to U.S. 36 in Tuscola.

— $3.2 million for resurfacing, guardrails, culvert replacements and pedestrian ramps on U.S. 150 from Illinois 47 in Mahomet to Mattis Avenue in Champaign.

— $7.1 million for resurfacing and new shoulders on 8.5 miles of Illinois 47 from U.S. 136 to I-74 in Mahomet.

— $2.8 million for resurfacing 5.4 miles of Illinois 130 from Windsor Road in Urbana to Madison Street in Philo.

— $4.4 million for repairs to pavement at Willard Airport.

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