Lawmakers tour bridges and highways

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Menard County, Ill (WAND) – A state fund to fix township bridges has not been increased since 1979.  The budget for those bridges is only $15 million.

The Transportation for Illinois Coalition took state lawmakers on a tour in Sangamon and Menard Counties to take a first-hand look at aging roads and bridges.  One of the stops was to inspect an eighty- year old bridge in Menard County. 

“This bridge is 80 years old with wood pilings still,” State Representative Tim Butler told WAND News.  “What we’re seeing is that roads that were built forty, fifty, sixty years ago have to be completely replaced because they’ve outlived their useful span.”  With grain elevators located on either side of the bridge heavy farm equipment must travel over it each fall.

Lawmakers across Illinois are increasingly talking about a capital budget to replace aging infrastructure.

“There’s a township bridge program that has not been increased since 1979,” stated Kevin Burke of the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association.  Burke also points to inadequate fund for fixing roads and highways. “The funding that IDOT and the local agencies have is just not able to keep up with the amount of roads we have.”

“Illinois continues to fall behind.  We haven’t had a serious capital program in the state of Illinois for going on the better part of a decade,” Butler said.

The need for infrastructure repairs is urgent but the Illinois legislature is not likely to take up a capital budget until the spring of 2019.

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