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Madison County chairman touts funding for Chain of Rocks Bridge project

EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler is praising the governor’s decision to approve $230 million for the replacement of the I-270 Chain of Rocks Bridge.

prenzler kurt2016Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Tuesday the Illinois Department of Transportation’s multi-year plan for road projects across the state, which included the funding to replace the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

“This is a much-needed improvement,” Prenzler said. “The bridge is too narrow and with the increase in traffic from when it opened something needed to be done to address safety concerns and improve traffic flow.”

Prenzler said the bridge — built in 1966 with four lanes and no shoulders — is critical for Madison County residents and businesses. According to IDOT the traffic count is around 51,000 vehicles per day, which is up from the 19,000 in 1975. About 20 percent of the bridge’s traffic is heavy trucks.

“Madison County is a nationally recognized logistics hub with Gateway Commerce Center at its core,” he said. “Trucks transport cargo across it daily and thousands of people commute back and forth to work. The bridge keeps the county’s logistics industry growing and continues to provide people greater opportunities for jobs.”

Prenzler said the bridge replacement is part of larger efforts to improve I-270. He said St. Louis Regional Freightway identified the Chain of Rocks Bridge as a priority infrastructure project.

According to St. Louis Regional Freightway, in addition to replacing the bridge, widening I-270 to six lanes from Lilac Avenue in Missouri to Illinois Route 111 is a high priority.

Illinois and Missouri jointly own the existing Chain of Rocks Bridge, but Illinois is the lead agency replacing the existing bridge.

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