By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – Boone County officials have worked up a wish list of infrastructure needs should state money become available to deal with five major, local projects totaling $31 million.

County Administrator Ken Terrinoni worked up the list after being asked to do so, in the event the state Legislature passes a capital projects bill in the near future.

“More and more people want it,” said state Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore, who represents Bonus and Spring townships and a small portion of Belvidere in the General Assembly. “It will happen,” he said of passing such a bill. But he added, “Raising the money will be difficult.”

The state already is addressing infrastructure needs, he said, through a five-year road improvements plan “that is rolled out every year.”

Two of the high-priority needs, according to Terrinoni, have to do with the local highway system.

One of them is the Poplar Grove Road bridge over the Kishwaukee River.

That structure was built in 1964 as a two-lane bridge with sidewalks to serve the northeastern side of the city of Belvidere. It is the route from U.S. Business Route 20 to Pillsbury-Green Giant, Dean Foods, and other businesses in Belvidere.

But times have changed and Terrinoni said the bridge was not designed for the 80,000-pound trucks using it today “and is showing signs of deterioration from the many trucks that use this bridge.

Cost to replace that structure is estimated at $2 million.

The second local project would be widening Irene Road, whose interchange with Interstate 90 is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

Irene currently is a narrow, two-lane road in Flora Township that handles truck traffic from the William Charles and Plote quarries, along with 80,000-pound trucks, exiting the toll road to use U.S. Route 20.

That improvement calls for building a new three-lane road, for a length of one mile, which would be designed to handle those 80,000-pound vehicles. The estimated cost is $1.8 million.

State highway system

There are three proposed projects involving the state highway system, totaling $28 million.

One of them concerns U.S. Business Route 20 between Rockford and Belvidere. This state road handles 12,000-17,000 vehicles per day in that area.

Route 20 currently is a four-lane highway from Rockford to a point just east of Shaw Road in Boone County. The proposed project would be to widen the remaining, approximately three miles of two-lane U.S. 20 to four lanes, which would tie into the four-lane highway at Belvidere. The estimated cost of this work is $8 million.

The two-lane stretch of Illinois 76 from the city of Belvidere north to Caledonia Road is 2.75-miles long and carries 11,000-13,000 vehicles each day.

Route 76 is the only north-south highway in Boone County that services traffic from I-90 to the Wisconsin state line. The plan would be to widen that portion of 76 to four lanes at an estimated cost of $9 million.

The final improvement also involves U.S. Business 20 around the north side of the city of Belvidere, from Route 76 to U.S. 20, a distance of 4.5 miles. This two-lane highway carries 9,000-12,000 vehicles each day, of local traffic and traffic traveling from I-90 to Wisconsin.

Plans call for widening the two and three-lane portions of the highway to four lanes and rebuild the bridge over the Kishwaukee River. That cost is estimated at $11 million.

Part of that road was improved last year.

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