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April 3, 2001

Governor Joins Legislative Leaders to Announce Funding for US 51 Expansion

MACON -- Governor George H. Ryan today joined legislative leaders to announce more than $22 million has been included in the Department of Transportation's five-year highway improvement program for the continued expansion of US 51 in Macon, Shelby, and Christian counties.

"The funding for continuation of the four-laning of US 51 is made possible by Illinois FIRST," Ryan said. "The hard work by the legislative leaders and the US 51 coalition made sure this project was kept on the front burner and that funds were made available for the work."

Twenty million of the Department of Transportation's multi-year highway program will fund the construction of 5.5 miles from north of the Macon County line to nearly one mile south of Moweaqua. This work includes construction of a four-lane bypass around Moweaqua and resurfacing existing US 51 through Moweaqua. An additional $2.2 million is included for the preparation of construction plans for the 11 mile section from south of Moweaqua to three miles north of IL 16. Land acquisition and construction for this section is estimated at more than $30 million and is not funded.

The US 51 work is part of a comprehensive $10 billion highway construction and repair program for fiscal years 2002-2006 announced today by the Governor. The program is aimed to repair existing roads and construct new roads, ease congestion and improve safety.

Work is currently under way on the construction of nearly five miles of new four-lane pavement for US 51 from 0.6 of a mile north of Macon to 0.7 of a mile north of the Macon/Shelby county line. Illinois FIRST provided $15.3 million for the construction of the four lanes around the east side of Macon. The work is expected to be completed this fall.

Construction of nine miles of the highway and the Elwin Bypass were previously completed at $42.5 million.


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