Road construction workers across the state will begin returning to their jobs after the Illinois Department of Transportation said construction projects can resume with Thursday’s approval of a full-year state budget.
Workers were sent home or not called in at all on July 3, the first work day of the state fiscal year amid the ongoing budget impasse that led to the state shutting down approximately 900 transportation projects totaling $3.3 billion, according to one of the state’s largest contractor associations.
The Illinois Department of Transportation estimated 20,000 workers were affected.
But with Thursday’s Illinois House vote to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of budget-related legislation, IDOT on Thursday evening gave the green light to restart work.
“The public is advised to be especially cautious traveling in and around work zones as lane closures are re-established in some locations,” an IDOT budget update website says. “Please be prepared to slow down for workers and equipment.”
About a dozen major transportation projects totaling around $100 million were affected by the temporary shutdown in the Peoria area, according to the state, including bridge work in Peoria County on Lancaster Road and on Trivoli Road.
Among other projects:
• Some $13.5 million in structural repairs on the Shade-Lohmann Bridge carrying Interstate 474 over the Illinois River were halted. So far, only $1.2 million of that work has been completed.
• Roadwork along I-74 in Knox County at County Highway 40 and County Highway 9 totaling nearly $20 million had been suspended. About $7.5 million of the project is complete.
• Guardrail upgrades along I-74 in Peoria and Knox counties totalling $2.7 million would be put on ice.
• The pavement widening of Illinois Route 116 east of Hanna City was also put on hold. So far, only $400,000 has been spent on the $3.8-million project.
• The roundabout at Alta Lane and Radnor Road, a $1.9-million project, was delayed. Construction is now slated to begin Monday.
• Work on the Manito Road bridge over the Mackinaw River paused in Tazewell County, with $3 million already spent on the $4.4 million project.
• Pavement reconstruction on County Highway 12 near Washburn in Marshall County halted. It’s a $1.2-million project on which only $95,000 has been spent.
As the last fiscal year drew to a close and with no budget deal in sight, IDOT notified contractors last month that the department could no longer pay its bills as of midnight June 30 without a budget. Contractors were instructed to secure construction sites, including advisories to motorists.