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      IDOT breaks ground on Macomb bypass

      Groundbreaking ceremony before actual construction begins on July 5th

      The project has been in the works since 1998.

      Saturday, June 30, Illinois Department of Transportation broke ground on the Macomb bypass at the intersection of IL 136 and IL 336.

      "This isn't just short term jobs, it's going to be a long term boost for the whole area," Director of Governmental Affairs for the Laborers' International Union of North America, Mike Matejka said.

      Creating jobs has been a priority for the past few years and many workers in West Central Illinois are looking for the relief this project will bring.

      "The last two years, three years, have been very difficult in terms of keeping union laborers working. A project like this is a huge shot in the arm, a lot of families are going to be able to keep up their insurance benefits. That paycheck is going to make a big, big difference to a lot of construction workers," Matejka said.

      The Illinois Department of Transportation has pushed to get started on the Macomb bypass, which will complete the last stretch of the four-lane Chicago to Kansas City route in Illinois.

      "The most important reason is that this is going to create economic opportunity for the future for Western Illinois/West Central Illinois. Also, it's going to create jobs during construction and typically when we have projects like this there is also the long term benefit of added jobs in the community, resulting from additional traffic," Secretary of IDOT Ann Schneider said.

      On the local level, collaborative efforts from Macomb, McDonough County, and surrounding areas kept the project rolling despite state budget cuts. Now the construction is scheduled to begin Thursday, July 5th.

      "We're going to work together, as a region, to get the same focused message out that this is important. It's not only important to the city of Macomb, it's important to a larger geographic area, the region in fact, for economic development to say the least," Macomb Mayor Michael Inman said.

      The project still is not completely funded. Additional funding will be required for surfacing the road.