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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials has singled out the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Chicago-St. Louis passenger rail project and the Interstate 55-Lake Shore Drive interchange reconstruction for top honors among Midwest states in the America’s Transportation Awards.

Announced Wednesday by the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials, the America’s Transportation Awards is the leading competition among state departments of transportation in the country.

This year’s awards are the most ever won by Illinois and the first for an IDOT-led project since 2015.

The Chicago-St. Louis passenger rail project earned the “Quality of Life/Community Development, Large Project” award. Designed to improve reliability, safety and travel times, the project overhauled the most popular Amtrak route in the Midwest and one that touches multiple Illinois communities. Other components included updated infrastructure as well as new locomotives and stations that enhance the customer experience and serve as centerpieces of downtown redevelopment efforts and gateways for tourism.

The I-55-Lake Shore Drive interchange won the “Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium Project” prize. To limit disruptions to one of the Midwest’s most critical economic corridors during the lengthy interchange improvements, a temporary bridge was built by raising into place an existing bridge between the new and old structures to accommodate inbound I-55 traffic to southbound Lake Shore Drive, avoiding extended closures and detours.

“Innovation and enhancing quality of life are the cornerstones of any great transportation project,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “We are thrilled that our projects have been recognized for excellence in these areas and proud of the work we’ve done for the residents of Illinois.”