Stearns Road Bridge project under way in Kane County, Ill.

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The opening of the Stearns Road Bridge corridor over the Fox River will mean greater access and reduced travel times for those in Kane County, Ill., and the communities of St. Charles and South Elgin, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The $146.8 million project, which includes $1.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars and $77 million in federal-aid highway funding, is considered the largest infrastructure project in the history of Kane County. The new corridor extends from Randall Road to Stearns Road and includes the main 1,100-foot span over the Fox River.

“The Stearns Road Bridge Corridor is a terrific example of how transportation projects can bring communities together,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says. “Kane County now has a new road and a bridge that will give people better access to jobs, schools and all other daily activities.”

With two 12-foot lanes in each direction separated by a median, the 4.6-mile Stearns Road corridor and new Fox River Bridge establish an east-west traffic corridor linking Route 59 on the east with Randall Road on the west. Drivers now will have a way to cross the Fox River along the 5.5 miles between Route 64 in downtown St. Charles and State Street in South Elgin.

The new bridge corridor also includes 216 acres of new open space, restored native prairie and improved public access, including seven miles of new trail and a new bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the Fox River.

“This project provides a new connection that will reduce transportation time for many people,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez says. “The project was also designed and built to have the least impact on people, wetlands and wildlife.”

Of the $26.6 billion ARRA funds available nationwide for highways and bridges, Illinois received $936.5 million for 820 projects, of which 391 are under way and 394 are completed.