President Barack Obama proposed Tuesday night what he called a "Fix It First" program to address the nation's crumbling infrastructure—like roads and bridges—in an effort to improve citizens' quality of life and bring jobs to the United States.
"I propose a 'Fix-It-First' program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country," he said during the State of the Union Address.
"And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most—modern ports to move goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children."
Many of the structurally deficient bridges Obama referred to are located in Will County. At least a dozen are located in and around Joliet, according to Transportation for America. The organization's campaign says coordinators are "eager to reform how we spend transportation dollars at the federal, state and local level to create a safer, cleaner and smarter transportation system that works for everyone."
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For New Lenox, the five closest deficient bridges are:
Two Richard Street bridges that cross Hickory Creek, north of Interstate 80. One was built in 1967 and the other in 1930. Transportation of America Data indicates that on daily average 7,100 and 100 cars respectively cross them.
Interstate 80 at Gardner Street, both eastbound and westbound sides, are categorized as deficient. The bridge was built in 1964. According to Transportation of America, 43,500 cars cross it daily.
Interstate 80 at Route 53 is another problem. It was built in 1967, and, according to the data, it supports 47,050 cars a day. The Joliet Avenue Bridge was built in 1954 and supports 1,054 cars daily, the report indicates.
Overall, Illinois ranks 35th in the country when it comes to inadequate bridges with about 8.5 percent of all its bridges rated as such.
That may change if Obama has anything to say about it.
"Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America," he said Tuesday. "And let’s start right away."
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