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Williamson County eyes rare state infrastructure money

il rebuild
Illinois gives $250 million in grants to help rebuild Illinois roads and bridges (MGN).

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, ILL. (WSIL)--Illinois governor JB Pritzker announced the second round of installments for the Rebuild Illinois plan.

"Its one of the biggest projects in probably a decade. There's so much money, billions of dollars, are gonna go into Illinois's transportation system, railways, just the whole system fixed. Bridges, roads, repairs. It's been long over due," said Paul Wappel, public information officer for Illinois Department of Transportation.

This installment is $250-million, and is expected to go towards bond projects throughout Illinois.

They'll last 15 years and include projects like road upgrades and bridges.

Williamson County is supposed to receive more than $300,000 with this installment.

Williamson County Engineer Greg Smothers said this money could not be coming at a better time.  

"For us it's gonna help. It's gonna be an infusion to help us keep our system better at a time when our revenue wasn't keeping pace. We were struggling in some areas just to keep our system in good shape. This will go a long way to help us ensure we don't have issues," Smothers said.

Williamson County has tentative plans to rebuild two structures. One is the bridge on Spillway Road over Grassy Creek, going into Crab Orchard Lake, and the other on Grassy Road east of 148.

Other projects in the works in Southern Illinois are the roundabout at the intersection of Cambria and Herrin Road. This project cost $2.5 million and is scheduled for completion in mid October.

But Smothers said this money is not just good for Southern Illinois, but for all of Illinois.

"If we didn't have this, you're left with the level of revenue we were, which we were just barely trying to survive. And as far as upgrading roads, or resurfacing them, you know, it was getting harder and harder to get revenue. And this is just gonna be a good thing for every corner of the state," Smothers said. 

Williamson County and others could see even more money over the next four years as the Rebuild Illinois plan is expected to have four more installments.

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Madeline Parker

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