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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2002

Governor Ryan Breaks Ground on Largest Downstate Interstate Reconstruction Project
$400 million revamp of I-74 through Peoria will improve safety; assist in future economic growth

Peoria—Governor George H. Ryan today joined federal, state and local officials to officially begin the reconstruction of Interstate 74 through Peoria. The $400 million reconstruction project is the largest in Illinois history outside of Chicago and is being made possible through Illinois FIRST.

“Today we’re making history,” Governor Ryan said. “This $400 million project is one for the future. It’s for future public safety and future economic growth.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Forrest Hill overpass, one of 44 bridges that will be reconstructed during the I-74 project. The overpass will be rebuilt to provide for four lanes of traffic and will be the required height and width to accommodate the new six lanes of I-74 and is expected to be complete in June of 2003.

The reconstruction of 8.3 miles of Interstate 74 will result in a re-engineered roadway from Sterling Avenue to Washington Street. The roadway was not originally built to be an interstate, and as a result the accident rate along the 8-mile stretch being reconstructed is 15 times greater than the current state average.

“We’re going to totally gut this system and rebuild it from the ground up, re-engineering it, putting down new concrete, installing wider and safer interchanges and new bridges,” Governor Ryan said. “We’re making this road safer for everyone who drives on it and we’ll make it easier for people who do business in Peoria.”

When work is completed on the project in late 2006, the new Interstate 74 will have wider and safer interchanges with the local road system, as well as numerous aesthetic and safety features such as landscaping, lighting, fencing and an Intelligent Traffic System.



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