The City of Rockford, IL with a population of 150,000 after 10 years of planning has the money to build a new bridge. The Morgan Street Bridge is over 100 years old, and has needed to be rebuilt for the past 10 years. The City never gave up hope and was short on the funds by 4.2 million dollars. The total cost of the bridge is going to be over 40 million dollars. Governor Quinn is going to give the City of Rockford the needed 4.2 million dollars to go ahead with the plans.
Governor Quinn, and acting Secretary of Transpsortation Ann Schneider came up from Springfield, IL, the capital, to give the money and do the ground breaking for the bridge. The Mayor of the City is Larry Morrissey, and the 5th Ward Alderman is Venita Hervey D-5.
Thr state and federal government are going to pay 80% of the project. The City of Rockford will be fronting the remainder 20% of the bill. They expect the bridge to bring about 400 construction and construction related jobs in the coming years. They estimate that the bridge will be completed by spring of 2014.
The bridge is in one of the oldest parts of the city and has had no repairs within the last 40 years. The proposed plan called for a new riverfront access on the west bank, and it is in a part of the city that has long been neglected.
Mayor Morrisey, an independent, thanked the Governor for saving the project. The city had to ask for the money because the construction bids came back too high. The Illinois Department of Transportation came through in July with an additional $4.2 million to cover the shortfall.
The project is expected to change the neighborhood and bring in new businesses and improve the surrounding neighborhood. The estimated time of completion is about 2 – 5 years, and the City want to shorten the time to be able to further develop the area. The Sear Tower only took 2.1 years to build and they are hoping that construction can be completed sooner than 5 years.
This undertaking is a positive step in the right direction during the down size of the economy. They took 10 years to research the project and are going ahead on the building of the Morgan Street Bridge.