Route 3 project could hit road block

Since construction began on the Route 3 improvement project in Waterloo, residents have kept a watchful eye for its completion.

The Illinois Department of Transportation most recently predicted that construction would finish by the end of this year. But progress on Route 3 could come to a halt if state legislators can’t agree on a budget before July 1.

“Every corner of Illinois will be impacted, with much-needed improvements delayed indefinitely, tens of thousands of workers sent home and millions of unnecessary costs added,” IDOT Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a press release.

That would require a year’s worth of squabbling among politicians to come to an end in less than two weeks. And with no sign of compromise between Republicans and Democrats, that doesn’t seem likely.

The latest news regarding the budget shows Republican Governor Bruce Rauner pushing stop-gap bills HB 6585 and SB 3435. Both of these measures would allot funds to IDOT for road construction, as well as provide funding to higher education institutions and human services organizations. But neither would constitute full spending plans.

The state of these two stop-gap bills is still up in the air at this time. If passed before July 1, these bills would allow the construction on Route 3 to continue without delay.

“All I can say is, I hope not,” Waterloo public works director Tim Birk said of the possible work stoppage on the project.

Illinois also borrowed $550 million last Thursday as an additional effort to fund construction projects. However, that presents a different roadblock since the state cannot use those funds without legislators’ approval.

According to a recent IDOT update, the contractor planned to work on the widening of Route 3 on the east side, installing pipe underdrains for drainage, placing rock subbase, pouring curb and gutter and paving an asphalt base course over the next month.

Work on the roundabout to be installed outside the Monroe County Farm Bureau office on Route 156 at Lakeview Drive was anticipated to begin sometime in August, IDOT said.

State Sen. David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) said he spoke with IDOT and confirmed that unless the budget is passed by July 1, work on Route 3 and other road projects would be stopped.

For more on IDOT’s Route 3 improvement project, visit online at

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