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      Construction jobs coming to Western Illinois

      A close-up of IDOT's construction plan. / Photo by: Chad Douglas

      If you've driven Interstate 172 near Quincy at all this summer, you know it's littered with construction.

      That may be bad for your commute, but it's good for the economy.

      Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made a stop along Interstate 172 late Friday afternoon to announce more than $16 million in road improvement projects.

      "This project today is going to put hundreds of people to work today and will also make our transportation better for jobs tomorrow," says Governor Pat Quinn.

      Governor Quinn says last year the state saw the least amount of fatal crashes since 1921. He says that doesn't happen magically, but with the help of a good road system. Thanks to the Illinois Jobs Now capital construction campaign that was signed into law last year, road improvements are being made all over the state. You may wonder about the cost, given Illinois' current budget crisis. The money is made by closing some loopholes and increasing certain fees. That money is this used to pay for bonds which build new roads and bridges. The governor also says good roads in this part of the state helps out the entire region.

      "I think it's important for our transportation that we have solid roads that go from Chicago to Kansas City and that covers Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. It will create jobs in building this wonderful system of roads," says Quinn.

      Most of the projects for this area are resurfacing and cosmetic projects. No new roads will be built.

      "It's resurfacing Illinois 57 and working on turn off areas for the Marblehead exit. The first exit for downtown Quincy," says Quincy Mayor John Spring.

      While money for new construction isn't there, Mayor John Spring still hopes to make Highway 57 a four lane road into Quincy sometime in the future. That project will likely take federal stimulus money, which Quincy has asked for. Mayor Spring says he hopes to find out something from that grant in the middle of October. He says if approved, that project will be a ways down the road, but it's always important to look ahead to the future.

      In all, about $8 billion is being dumped into improving transportation around the state.