ROCKFORD – Governor Pat Quinn today joined local and state officials to cut the ribbon and open the new $29 million Morgan Street Bridge over the Rock River. The new bridge is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and build a 21st century transportation system that will drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“Residents and businesses who need to cross the Rock River now have a better way,” Governor Quinn said. “We expect as many as 60,000 people will use the new Morgan Street Bridge each day, improving commerce and the quality of life throughout the Rockford area.”
The 497-foot Morgan Street Bridge includes a 370-foot tiered arch main span anchored to each bank of the river. The original bridge, which was built in 1916, was recommended for replacement in a 2000 bridge study. The new bridge includes a new roadway plus improved lighting, railings, sidewalks and a multi-use path.
The Federal Highway Major Bridge Fund, administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), provided $21.17 million for the bridge project. $4.26 million came from Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, and $3.55 million from the city of Rockford.
“The city and state worked collectively to find the gap funding we needed in order to get the bridge built,” Mayor Larry Morrissey said. “The commitment to the project by Governor Quinn and our local legislative delegation really made the project possible.”
“We are proud to celebrate the completion of this important bridge project in Rockford,” IDOT Secretary Ann L. Schneider said. “This project is a great example of federal, state and local officials working together to create jobs, improve safety, boost the local economy and help ensure Illinois’ transportation system remains among the best in the nation.”
The Morgan Street Bridge is part of a $40 million project that also involves $11 million worth of road work on both sides of the river. This includes reconstructing College Avenue from the bridge to Kishwaukee Street; Morgan Street from the new bridge to South Main Street; plus intersection upgrades. The City of Rockford also paid for land acquisition, utilities and engineering costs. Citizen input was incorporated throughout the planning process.
The project is part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program, which will support more than 439,000 jobs over six years. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest capital construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest capital construction programs in the nation.