Money for Bridges on I-57, But Not Across the Fox River

Route 31 is disintegrating in McHenry County.

Local public officials are calling for the Bolz Road bridge over the Fox River to be financed with tolls.

Yet two new bridges are being constructed over Interstate 57 near university towns in central Illinois.

Both are major state highway expenditures.

I-57 is a lot like a river. You can’t cross it except at over or underpasses.

One new overpass is north of Mattoon in Coles County.

Coles is a county that had an estimated 50,949 people in it as of 2006.

It has lost 2,247 people–4.2% of its population–since the U.S. Census in 2000.

But, it gets a new bridge.

The other overpass is being built in the Champaign area.

At least Champaign County has grown.

Its population is up 3.3% during the first six years of this decade. Up 6,013.

Not only is it getting a new overpass. It is getting an entire new cloverleaf.

Huntley can’t get half a cloverleaf on Route 47, but Champaign gets one of I-57.

Priorities, you know.

Let’s compare their growth or loss of population with what has happened in McHenry and Kane Counties.

McHenry grew by 20.1%. 53,296 more people lived here in 2006 than were here in 2000.

Kane increased its population by 89,616—a 22.2% increase.

Now, all of these new folks didn’t move to homes west of the Fox River, but a lot of them did…probably a majority.

142,912 more people in McHenry and Kane Counties, but no new bridges financed by state government.

How pathetic.

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The photos of the two new overpasses and Route 31 at Terra Cotta can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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