Stevenson Expressway upgrades included in latest round of Gov. Pritzker's $41B transportation plan

A total of $364 million is earmarked for Interstate 55 upgrades on 49 bridges from Wolf Road to the Chinatown feeder ramp, highlighted by full rebuilds of the Harlem and Cicero Avenue interchanges that are among the busiest in the state.

SHARE Stevenson Expressway upgrades included in latest round of Gov. Pritzker's $41B transportation plan
Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a Friday news conference in McCook announcing $41 billion in infrastructure investments for roads, bridges and transit systems statewide.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks at a Friday news conference in McCook announcing $41 billion in infrastructure investments for roads, bridges and transit systems statewide.

State of Illinois livestream

If you soon find yourself stuck in construction traffic on the Stevenson Expressway, feel free to blame Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Plenty of road work delays are coming down the pike for Chicago and the rest of Illinois under the latest round of $41.4 billion in infrastructure upgrades announced Friday, as part of Pritzker’s signature Rebuild Illinois program that’s been in progress since 2019.

“I can say to all of you: sorry about the orange cones you see if you’re slowed down in traffic. But in another way, I’ll say: sorry, not sorry,” the governor said at the state’s Stevenson Maintenance yard in southwest suburban McCook. “We’re going to have decades of roads and bridges, airports, river ports that are being rebuilt and that are the best in the nation.”

Touted as the largest multiyear infrastructure program in state history, this year’s massive allotment mostly covers roads and bridges, but also invests in rail lines, waterways, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, according to Pritzker’s office.

The total includes nearly $29.7 billion for road and bridge projects statewide through 2030, including about $5.3 billion for projects over the next year.

About $7.5 billion is earmarked over the next five years for transit, $2.5 billion for rail lines, $1.6 billion for aviation and $160 million for ports and waterways, officials said.

A total of $364 million is earmarked for Interstate 55 upgrades on 49 bridges from Wolf Road to the Chinatown feeder ramp, highlighted by full rebuilds of the Harlem and Cicero Avenue interchanges that are among the busiest in the state. Money will also go toward “modifications and signal improvements” for bicyclists and pedestrians, officials said.

Improvements are en route for 3,214 miles of roads spanning all 102 counties in the state.

More than 6,000 miles of roads and 629 bridges have already been revamped at a cost of about $14.8 billion under the Rebuild Illinois program, which marked one of Pritzker’s biggest legislative wins early in his first term.

“There had been, frankly, years before that where our infrastructure had been neglected and disinvested from,” Pritzker said. “Our roads and bridges, our airports and river ports had been crumbling... This wasn’t just a plan to rectify the shortcomings of the past, but it was instead to build something better for our future.”

Officials are banking on increased gambling tax revenue to help pay for the infrastructure program. Legislators authorized six new casinos — including Chicago’s — in 2019 along with legal sports wagering and an expansion of slot machines outside casinos, with the state’s cut of winnings dedicated to capital projects.

Federal dollars are also being pumped into many of the projects.

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