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October 9, 2002

Kankakee Infrastructure to Receive Boost from Illinois FIRST
$3.5 Million Set Aside for 5TH Avenue Bridge Rehab and City Sewer System Upgrades

KANKAKEE—Governor George H. Ryan today joined Kankakee officials in announcing that $3.5 million dollars from Illinois FIRST have been set aside for two infrastructure improvements in the city. The City of Kankakee will receive $500,000 to fund the rehabilitation of the 5th Avenue Bridge and $3 million dollars for upgrading the city’s sewer system.

The 5th Avenue Bridge has been determined to be in a condition that fails to meet State of Illinois standards and now must be replaced. The superstructure, abutments and wing walls are showing severe deterioration. An estimated 15,000 vehicles per day cross the bridge.

“Because of the large amount of traffic that passes over the bridge everyday, it is becoming unsafe for Kankakee residents,” Governor Ryan said. “The construction may be a little bit of an inconvenience at first, but the benefit of having a safe structure will far outweigh any inconvenience.”

Illinois FIRST will provide $500,000 for the bridge rehabilitation. The Illinois Department of Transportation has secured $200,000 through the federal Beneficial Use Reconnaissance Program and Kankakee County will provide $100,000 in local matching funds.

The City of Kankakee operates more than 200 miles of sanitary and storm sewers. Since 1975 the city has spent more than $10 million upgrading and repairing the sewers to protect public health and safety, eliminating sanitary sewer overflows into the Kankakee River. However, the city has identified 65 trouble spots that need to excavated and repaired.

“When the project is complete, it will eliminate backup of sewage into homes and business,” Governor Ryan said. “We estimate that nearly 28,000 residents will benefit directly from this project.”


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