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Macomb Bypass to be Paved

TSPR'S Rich Egger
Illinois spent about $70-million to prepare the bypass before adding pavement

Last fall, then-Governor Pat Quinn allocated nearly $35 million to pave two of the four lanes of the northwest section of the Macomb Bypass. That project will go out to bid in June with construction slated to start late summer.

The road will run around town connecting US 136 West to US 67 North.  It’s part of the Kansas City to Chicago corridor.

"Right now, the truck traffic has to thread its way through town and anything that’s going through can then stay out on the bypass which should make for safer operations within the city, smoother with a little less congestion,” said Maureen Addis of the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Addis expects the bidding process to be competitive because it's open to companies that specialize in concrete and those that do blacktop.

“We do what you call a life-cycle cost where you look at the cost to maintain the pavement over a 20 or 30 year period,” Addis said. “And the costs were within 10% of one another and when they’re that close, our policy says to put it out to bid and see where the better initial cost comes from.”

In the meantime, I-DOT is working to secure easements and right of ways.

Addis said the six-mile bypass will operate as a freeway without any exit or entrance ramps. “Once you’re on the bypass, you’re on the bypass.” She said the two-lanes should be driveable by late 2016.

As for paving the other two lanes, Addis said that project remains on the DOT’s unfunded but viable list. “It’s something we would like to see completed, but at funding levels now and trying to maintain the system, it’s tough to say when it will be possible,” Addis said.

Eventually, I-DOT also plans to extend the bypass to connect U.S. 67 N to U.S. 136 E.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.