Wednesday, Oct. 27


West-central Illinois highway 336
to connect Quincy and Macomb
breaks ground    
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Illinois 336 to bring new economic development to region
and improve quality of life for area residents

[OCT. 27, 2004]  CARTHAGE -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich joined state and local officials Tuesday to officially break ground and begin construction on an important new segment of Illinois 336, a four-lane highway that will connect Quincy and Macomb. The highway is a major transportation initiative to spur economic development in west-central Illinois, a largely rural area of the state.

Responding to the overwhelming demand for extending the original project farther east, Gov. Blagojevich announced earlier this year his support for building an Illinois 336 western bypass around Macomb, through his Opportunity Returns plan for the west-central region. The bypass will eventually connect Illinois 336 to U.S. 67. Preliminary engineering is also under way for Illinois 336 from Macomb to Peoria.

"By connecting Quincy to Macomb, by connecting Illinois 336 and U.S. 67, we are connecting western Illinois with central Illinois," said Gov. Blagojevich. "Today we reach a crucial milestone, because when we finish this portion of 336, we will be more than halfway done. This is a crucial step to completing a major infrastructure project for this part of our state that will pay tremendous economic dividends. It will assure that people from all over can get here and find out what a great place this is to visit, to work, to build and to live."

Sen. John Sullivan, D-Quincy, thanked Gov. Blagojevich for moving forward with the project. "When I've spoken with him, I've stressed just how important Illinois 336 is for the people of west-central Illinois, and he's listened," Sullivan said. "We need to continue working in Springfield to make sure this gets done, to grow our economy and bring more jobs to the area."

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The Illinois Department of Transportation began construction on this latest $20 million section of Illinois 336, including the Carthage interchange, earlier this month. It includes 5.3 miles of grading and paving of four lanes of traffic from three miles south to two miles east of Carthage. Earthwork on the interchange has begun just east of Carthage and will continue into early winter as weather permits. The entire five-mile section is expected to be complete by November 2006.

The fiscal 2005 budget includes the $20 million for the work near Carthage and $1.7 million in additional funding for continuing engineering and associated land purchases. To build the remaining 25.2 miles of Illinois 336 from Carthage to Macomb, $130 million is programmed in the current multiyear highway improvement plan. The Illinois Department of Transportation has already completed construction on 21.3 miles of four-lane highway from near Quincy at U.S. 24 to just south of Carthage.

[News release from the governor's office]

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