The condition of Illinois roads has deteriorated in recent years. The percentage of roads that need repair rose from 10.8 in 2010 to 15 last year, according to a state audit. IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider says this is mainly because the department has been spending its money fixing or replacing bridges.
“We want to make sure that we are investing in our bridge infrastructure, and so we have made it a priority at the Department of Transportation to ensure that our bridges are in acceptable or better condition, and because of that, the roads don’t get to keep up as much as we would like to see them,” she said.
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Schneider says the department has repaired or replaced 1,100 bridges since 2009, and that one out of 12 Illinois bridges is deficient, whereas the national average is one in nine.
She says the department would prefer to have 10 percent of roads in need of pavement repair or replacement – doing one-tenth of the state’s roads per year is a reasonable goal – but the attention on bridges has caused some deferral. She says had it not been for the capital construction program implemented in 2009, it would be worse.