Illinois Transportation Secretary and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin Announce Grand Opening of MacArthur Boulevard Extension

[SPRINGFIELD] – Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig was joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin and other state and local officials at a ceremonial ribbon cutting today to mark the grand opening of the MacArthur Boulevard Extension and the new interchange with Interstate 72.  The $46.9 million dollar project created 525 construction related jobs and provides access to approximately 900 acres of land to the north of I-72 for new development.
“We are very proud and excited to announce the opening of what will become a major artery in Springfield,” said Hannig.  “The new extension and interchange at I-72 will provide  many great benefits and opportunities to the City of Springfield.  Not only did this project create hundreds of jobs, but it will also improve safety, reduce traffic congestion and set the stage for  economic development and job creation for many years to come.”

The two-mile extension of MacArthur Boulevard from Junction Circle to Interstate 72 includes a new interchange that will provide safe and efficient access to the south side of Springfield.  The construction of the new north/south roadway system also included the reconstruction of the bike trail connecting Chatham and Springfield.

“As a result of this project, more than 500 jobs in the hard hit construction industry were created in the Springfield area and throughout the region,” Durbin said.  “This is not simply a road project; it’s an economic development engine.  As the new, extended MacArthur Boulevard opens, established businesses up and down the road will see a boost from additional vehicles.  The improvements also mean Springfield is positioned to use the undeveloped land to attract new businesses that offer good paying jobs that can’t be outsourced.” 

Durbin cited the MacArthur extension as a great example of federal resources paying dividends locally and Congressional “earmarks” at work.  Starting in 1998, Durbin helped secure a total of $9 million in federal funding for the project.

Halverson Construction was the low bidder for the first contract on this project, which included earthwork, drainage, four new bridges, two rehabilitated bridges, and one trail bridge. The contract amount was $22.5 million and the project was let in March 2007.

Fred Weber, Inc. completed the second contract, which included curb & gutter, lighting, traffic signals, and paving.  The contract amount on this portion of the project was $17.8 million and was let in June 2008.

The total cost for the entire project was $46.9 million and includes federal and state funding.