PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Gov. JB Pritzker was in Peoria on Tuesday to announce a major investment in the 28-year-old Bob Michel Bridge.
The $24.6 million investment is part of the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan. The improvements will widen the bridge, add new lighting and create a multi-use path for pedestrians and bikers.
““We are building a new Illinois, dedicating our capital plan to problems that have sat untouched for decades…This modernization will make the bridge smoother and safer. Not only for its cars and trucks, but for bikers and pedestrians too with a new barrier wall separating lanes from its new multi-use path,” said Pritzker.
Starting March 13, the bridge will be closed for eight months. In order to cross the Illinois River, traffic will be detoured north via Interstate 74 and the Murray Baker Bridge.
“It will reopen just in time for families who want to travel between Peoria and East Peoria for the holidays,” said Pritzker.
State Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) hailed the project and the hundreds of union jobs that come with it.
“This is what a capital bill is all about. This is what Rebuild Illinois is all about. It’s not only improving and making investments in ourselves, but making sure our people are the ones working and feeding their families. This is good for Peoria,” he said.
Koehler said modernizing infrastructure will make the city more appealing to outsiders.
“Peoria is on the move. With these kinds of improvements, when you improve the infrastructure, people do come,” he said.
Pritzker said the Rebuild Illinois program has invested more than $820 million in transportation projects throughout the Greater Peoria region.
The Bob Michel Bridge will remain open to bikes and pedestrians throughout the project.