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IDOT Cold Weather Plans On Hold

Teddy Wade

There'll be fewer orange signs on Illinois' roadways as construction season winds down and winter approaches. But the longer the state's budget impasse goes on, come spring, the Illinois Department of Transportation might not be able to fix all the damage the cold, snow and ice will do to the state's highway system this winter. Already, several construction projects that have been awarded, planned and assigned to a contractor have been put on hold because the legislature has yet to give IDOT the spending authority to start working. And even more basic than new projects, IDOT's region three engineer Kensil Garnett says he's worried about keeping the lights and heat on for his workers and having enough diesel fuel to get them through the winter without a budget.

"When we do have one and we go to talk to that person that we're buying something from, they're like, 'Oh, you're with the state of Illinois, you have problems paying your bills so we're going to add a little bit more onto it for the simple fact that we have to cover yourself in case we maybe don't get paid." Garnett says without a budget, IDOT's goals for making Illinois' roads and bridges up to 90 percent levels of safety could mean a plummet to 20 percent safe, especially after the winter.

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