ALTON – Representatives of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s administration were joined today by state legislators and local officials for a ribbon-cutting to mark the opening of a new section of the IL 255 Alton Bypass. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) built the 2.6 mile stretch of new four-lane highway from Fosterburg Rd. to Seminary Rd. at a cost of $25.1 million. Joining IDOT’s Region 5 Engineer Mary Lamie at the event were Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Daniel Beiser (D-Alton).
The Alton Bypass is a major transportation initiative for the Blagojevich administration that is intended to spur economic development and job creation on a new corridor in the St. Louis Metro-East area. The addition of a four-lane road built to interstate standards will improve the quality of life for residents of Alton and the surrounding communities by easing congestion and improving roadway safety. A final 3.4 mile section remains to be built to complete the Bypass, which will cover a total of 20 miles from Interstate 270 to U.S. Rt. 67 in Godfrey.
Funding for the remaining segment of the Bypass, estimated at a cost of $46 million, is included in IDOT's current Multi-Year Highway Improvement Program for FY 2009-2014. Of that total, $9.1 million is included for the current fiscal year to pay for engineering, land acquisition, utility work, and construction of a new bridge over IL Rt.111.
“The opening of the Alton Bypass will bring new opportunities for economic development and will enhance the quality of life for many in our region,” stated Rep. Jay C. Hoffman, Chairman of the House Transportation and Motor Vehicles Committee. “This is a vital infrastructure project that will pay tremendous economic dividends by making it easier to do business and relieving traffic congestion. We must continue to move forward and complete the final phase of this project so that we can realize the full benefits of the Alton Bypass.”
The new 2.6 mile section of IL 255 between Fosterburg Rd. and Seminary Rd. was built to Interstate standards under five separate construction contracts. The work included construction of two sets of dual mainline bridges and two overhead bridges, along with the earth grading and asphalt paving of the mainline road and a frontage road.
“Today we are taking a big step forward toward our ultimate goal of completing the Alton Bypass,” said Sen. Haine. “This is a project that is badly needed and will benefit the people of Alton and Wood River Township by creating job opportunities and making it easier for people to get to and from their jobs and homes.”
“The Alton Bypass is already providing a great boost to the quality of life in our region of the state,” said Rep. Beiser. “This project makes our roads safer and will create job opportunities by opening up a new corridor for economic development. This project has been like running a race and we will continue until the race is done.”
“The Alton Bypass is a major transportation priority for Governor Blagojevich and IDOT because it will improve the quality of life and economic opportunity for the people of the Metro-East area,” said IDOT Secretary Milton R. Sees. “We are improving access from I-270 to Alton and making it easier and safer to move people and goods and services into and out of the region.”
The total cost to build the 20-mile IL 255 Alton Bypass is estimated at approximately $220 million.