Accessibility of McClugage Bridge project highlighted during Governor’s visit to Peoria

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was at the intersection of Adams Street and U.S. 150 Peoria Monday afternoon to announce investments in the McClugage Bridge project with the goal of bringing improved infrastructure to the Peoria region.

“Investments like the rehabilitation of the McClugage Bridge, which was first built in World War II and carries about 20,000 eastbound vehicles a day, will not only support freight routes on Illinois’ roadways, but make day-to-day life easier for Peoria and East Peoria families who use this bridge to get groceries, see their doctor or visit the pharmacy,” Pritzker said.

“With a new deck bridge that will nearly double its width, the new structure will not only be safer, smoother, and faster at larger capacity, but we’re adding a protected bike and pedestrian path – so this beautiful crossing point over the Illinois River will be all the more accessible.”

Pritzker saw crews working on the $167 million project to build a new eastbound portion of the bridge. The project began in 2019 and aims to rebuild the existing bridge.

“Investment in our communities pays tenfold,” said State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria).

The four-year project will feature wider shoulders for vehicle breakdowns and first responders, as well as a third lane to better accommodate current volumes and anticipated growth in the region, with improved ramps at Illinois 29 and 116 to eliminate frequent stopping and help smooth traffic flow.

“This bridge is a vital link between Peoria and the communities of East Peoria, Washington, Germantown Hills, and beyond, with over 20,000 vehicles crossing this bridge each way, every day,” said Peoria Mayor Dr. Rita Ali. “Infrastructure projects like this are vital to the continued economic growth of our region. I am very pleased that the State of Illinois is investing so much in Peoria and the surrounding communities.”

The redevelopment is bringing things like jobs to Central Illinois.

“Some of these individuals are graduates of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Illinois Central College training program,” said Ali.

Koehler said the project is going to impact people across the entire area.

“The jobs you see here going on behind me here are high-paying union jobs. That is good for the whole economy of this area,” said Koehler.

The plan also includes a new bike and walking path along the bridge with a river overlook, and trailheads will be added on both sides of the bridge.

“It really hits on the issue of quality of life of the Peoria area. The more amenities that we can put into our infrastructure projects, the better that people will want to stay here and want to move here,” said Koehler.

State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria) said it shows a new vision for IDOT, too.

“There’s a growing recognition that there’s more to our infrastructure than just motorized vehicles,” said Spain. “We are doing that now with the McClugage Bridge.”

Ali said it is also going to increase access to people who do not own a vehicle.

“They made opportunity, I think an equitable opportunity, for everybody to be able to cross over using the McClugage Bridge,” said Ali.

The new eastbound bridge is expected to open in 2023. The McClugage Bridge opened back in 1948, making it more than 70 years old. IDOT leaders estimate about 20,000 drivers cross the eastbound section every day.

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