Engineers group gives Illinois infrastructure low marks

Published 12 February 2010

The ASCE says that the dilapidated Illinois infrastructure is endangering the state’s future prosperity; the group examined nine infrastructure elements; the two that got the highest grade – C+ — are aviation and bridges; the others fared worse

An Illinois engineering group believes the major capital construction plan approved by lawmakers last year is not enough to fully repair the state’s failing infrastructure. A report card issued Wednesday by the Illinois chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state a D-plus in its overall infrastructure quality. The grade was combined from nine categories, ranging from airplanes to the quality of the state’s drinking water.

Aviation and bridges earned the highest grades of C-plus, while the state’s navigable waterways got the lowest grade of D-minus.

SJ-R.comreports that the ASCE report said waterways lack $2 billion authorized by Congress from a 2007 water resources development law and have “unreliable lock and dam systems.” Lawmakers approved a $31 billion capital construction plan last year, after a 10-year delay.

State Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said more than 2,000 miles of road repairs and 235 bridge repair projects are under way. “We take the maintenance of our highway system very seriously, and safety is always the top priority,” he said.

Former ASCE chapter president Robert Gorski said the plan improved the state’s grades slightly, but there’s much more work to be done.

Illinois is part of a bigger national problem, as the ASCE’s national branch gave the nation a D-minus grade overall last year. The statewide report was created by 33 Illinois civil engineers and took more than a year to complete.

When the ASCE released its 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure in January 2009, several notable points stood out. The five-year investment need was estimated to be $2.2 trillion, and increase of $500 billion since ASCE’s previous Report Card in 2005. The second point, the ASCE says, is more sobering. The current five-year outlay, including funds from the 2009 stimulus package, covers les than 46 percent of needed investment.

ASCE’s Illinois report card

Each category was evaluated on the basis of condition vs. need and funding vs. need.



A == exceptional

B = good

C = mediocre

D = poor

  • Aviation – C+
  • Bridges – C+
  • Dams – C
  • Drinking water – D+
  • Navigational water – D-
  • Rail – D
  • Roads – D
  • Transit – D+
  • Wastewater – D+