MOLINE -- The widening of John Deere Road from 38th to 70th Street will start next spring, according to Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider who, on Monday, unveiled the work as part of the 2013-2018 multi-modal transportation program.
During a news conference at Centre Station, Ms. Schneider said the project -- which includes intersection improvements at 38th and 41st streets -- will cost $51.4 million. It is the largest project in Rock Island County scheduled within the six-year program.
In all, the $9.2 billion six-year statewide program designates $621 million for road and bridge projects in District 2, which includes Rock Island, Henry, Whiteside, Jo Daviess, Winnebago, Lee, Stephenson, Boone, Ogle and Carroll counties.
Not included, however, is money for construction of the new Interstate 74 bridge. Ms. Schneider, however, said IDOT will spend $1.5 million on bridge rehabilitation between 2014 and 2018.
"I know the bridge is a big issue," she said. "The fact is, at this point, we are not in a position where we can fund significant dollars toward (construction). But we do recognize its importance, and we have it as our No. 1 priority as we go forward to bring it into the program as quickly as we can.
"We are committed to the bridge," she said. "To date, we have programmed more than $34 million toward the bridge to include preliminary engineering and land acquisition."
Other area projects in the six-year plan include:
-- $30.1 million for Interstate 80: 29.9 miles of resurfacing in Henry County, from half a mile east of the I-74/I-80 interchange to the Bureau County line, programmed 2014-2018.
-- $27 million for Interstate 280: New bridge deck, bridge rehabilitation, bridge repair and engineering, programmed 2014-2018
-- $7.7 million for I-280: 7 miles of resurfacing, patching and cold milling from .4 miles east of Airport Road in Milan to 1.3 miles east of the Rock Island County line, programmed 2014-2018.
-- $700,000, Crosstown Avenue in Silvis: One mile resurfaced from 1st Street to Illinois 5, programmed 2013.
Ms. Schneider said the transportation improvement program includes $6.5 billion in federal transportation funds, $2.2 billion in state funds and $454 million in local funds.
Of the state funds, $1.2 billion are Illinois Jobs Now bond funds. The rest of the state money comes from vehicle registration fees and Motor Fuel Taxes, both which have been declining or flat revenue sources for IDOT, she said.
With the money it has available, IDOT has committed to ensuring at least 90 percent of its bridges maintain a ranking of acceptable or better during the six-year plan. Right now, 88 percent of state highways rank acceptable, Ms. Schneider said. By 2018, the percentage will drop to 68 percent, she said.
The transportation improvement program is smaller than recent years, she noted, and IDOT will continue to face challenges as it moves forward.
"The department has made every effort to size the program for 2013 and beyond appropriately," she said, noting projects scheduled for FY 2013 are funded.
Erick Therkildsen, IDOT acting director of highways for Region 2, said the John Deere Road construction project will take three years. It will start with construction of the 38th Street overpass. Ms. Schneider said the road is sorely in need of reconstruction and repair.
"This is a project of major importance that will support thousands of jobs in the Quad-Cities," she said.
Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.