Governor Rauner, transportation secretary speak at opening
MACOMB - Gov. Bruce Rauner and local dignitaries officially opened the Illinois 336 bypass to traffic Friday afternoon, following years of planning and construction.
“This shows the wonderful results when people come together to get things done,” Rauner said to those gathered underneath the shadow of the Illinois 136 overpass above, located just west of Macomb. “This has been more than 60 years in the making.”
Illinois Department of Transportation officials said planning for the bypass began back in the early 1960s. Grading for the 6-mile, $36.1 million roadway began in 2014 and construction was underway by June 2015.
The two-lane bypass links Illinois 336 west of Macomb to U.S. 67 on the north and should save commuters several minutes in travel time. The bypass is part of a larger road project that will provide a more direct connection between Chicago and Kansas City.
Rauner also said that he, Illinois Secretary of Transportation Randy Blankenhorn and other state officials will urge lawmakers to budget funding to complete construction of the bypass’ two adjacent southbound lanes.
“Both the secretary and I are committed to get four lanes here,” Rauner said. “We’re going to get it done. We’re going to work hard on the timing, but we’re going to get it done.”
Blankenhorn said the new bypass will help generate more economic development to Macomb and the region.
“This is a great day in western Illinois and Macomb,” Blankenhorn said. “It is a long time coming.”
Rauner said Illinois is “the heart of transportation in the United States of America,” which drives the state’s economic prosperity. This is why the state needs the best highway system in the world here, he said.
“That will bring more income, more jobs, a better quality of life and a better future for our children and grandchildren,” he said. “We want the best highway system in the world here in the Illinois, and now, in western Illinois, in particular. We want companies from around the world to come to invest here in western Illinois. And we want them to have quick access into our interstate highway system.”
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