SPRINGFIELD – The warm days of the Illinois State Fair seem far away as the chill of fall sets in, but the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is already prepping for 2020. The next phase of road improvements has begun on the fairgrounds with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) paving several main roads. The $3 million multi-agency and multi-year road improvement project funded by the Capital Development Board (CDB) will take place in two phases.

“Illinois’ state fairs are a highlight for families around the state, and I’m committed to making sure they continue to attract families and keep getting better,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I committed millions of dollars to make long-overdue road improvements at both fairgrounds to demonstrate our commitment, and we’ve seen huge strides for both state fairs in grandstand ticket sales, attendance and revenue. With these improvements, the State Fair will remain a popular attraction for generations to come.”

The first phase will resurface roads in the fairgrounds beginning at the 8th Street intersection with Sangamon Ave. and continuing north to the sheep barn. It also includes 4-H Lane from 8th Street west alongside the Junior Livestock and Orr Buildings to Gate 9. Additionally, portions of Illinois and Central Avenue, as well as roads around the Emerson Building and the goat barn will be
repaved.

“Over the years the heavy traffic volume and the weight of trucks and trailers delivering livestock have worn out these roads,” said John Sullivan, IDOA Director. “These multi-agency cooperative agreements allow for this and other fairground improvements—which could not have happened without the efforts of Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly and the passage of the Capital Bill.”

Phase one of the road improvements is estimated to cost $500,000 and wrap up before Thanksgiving, weather permitting. Phase two will begin Spring 2020 and cost around $2.5 million. Roadwork on the Illinois State Fairgrounds comes on the heels of a $350,000 re-surfacing project on the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in June. Several other projects are slated for both fairgrounds over the next two years, including improvements to the Du Quoin Grandstand, the Southern Illinois Center and continued improvements to the Coliseum.

The 2020 Illinois State Fair runs from August 13th through August 23rd.

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