I-74 work underway near Mahomet

The scene on Interstate 74 westbound between Mahomet and Mansfield.

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Why has there been so much construction on Interstate 74 the past few years?

From the Quad Cities to Champaign, stretches of I-74 are under construction near Galesburg, in Peoria, between Peoria and Bloomington, and just west of Mahomet.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is also beginning construction Monday on a $32.6 million, 21/2-year project to replace the I-74 bridges in Champaign over the Canadian National railroad yard and Market Street.

“There are sections of I-74 in Region 3 that are definitely old in terms of when the last time we performed a major construction project on them,” said Kensil Garnett, the Region 3 engineer for IDOT.

He said maintenance hasn’t been deferred, but “the surface on the asphalt projects had reached the end of its useful life.”

The I-74 bridges over the rail yard and Market Street were built in the mid-1950s and widened in 1992, and both are in the advanced stages of deterioration and due to be replaced, IDOT said.

And Garnett said the Illinois capital bill approved last year helped speed up some projects.

“The additional money from the Rebuild Illinois capital program allowed IDOT to perform some of these projects sooner,” he said.