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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2004

Gov. Blagojevich breaks ground on West Central Illinois Highway - moving vital construction project forward
Illinois 336 to bring new economic development to region and improve quality of life for area residents

CARTHAGE—Governor Rod Blagojevich joined state and local officials to officially break ground and begin construction on an important new segment of Illinois 336.  Illinois 336, a four-lane highway that will connect Quincy and Macomb, is a major transportation initiative that will spur economic development in West Central Illinois, a largely rural area of our state. Responding to the overwhelming demand for extending this project even further east, Governor Blagojevich announced earlier this year his support for building an Illinois 336 western bypass around Macomb, which will eventually connect Illinois 336 to US 67, through his Opportunity Returns plan for the West Central region.  Preliminary engineering is also underway for Illinois 336 from Macomb to Peoria.  
 
“By connecting Quincy to Macomb, by connecting Illinois 336 and US 67, we are connecting Western Illinois with Central Illinois.  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,” said Gov. Blagojevich. 
 
"I want to thank Governor Blagojevich for moving forward with this important project. When I've spoken with him, I’ve stressed just how important IL 336 is for the people of west central Illinois and he's listened,” said Sen. John Sullivan (D-Quincy).  “We need to continue working in Springfield to make sure this gets done, to grow our economy and bring more jobs to the area."
 
The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) 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 3 miles south to 2 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 5-mile section is expected to be complete by November 2006.
 
The Fiscal Year 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. $130 million is programmed in the IDOT Multi-Year Highway Improvement program to build the remaining 25.2 miles of Illinois 336 from Carthage to Macomb. IDOT has already completed construction on 21.3 miles of four-lane highway from near Quincy at US 24 to just south of Carthage.


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