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Completion of a $65.7 million resurfacing project to make the Interstate 280 bridge a smoother, safer ride brought Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and regional leaders together to celebrate Wednesday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Rock Island. They were joined at the Nov. 29 event by representatives of the trades to announce the culmination of the multi-year project to install a new deck on the Sgt. John F. Baker Jr. Mississippi River Bridge I-280 Bridge. The upgrade was made in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Transportation, which contributed $18.9 million to the improvements. Leaders including the governor and Illinois state Rep. Gregg Johnson, D-East Moline, also highlighted the importance of that critical Rebuild Illinois project and others in the region in increasing connectivity and the economic viability of the bi-state region. Improvements were long overdue on the Quad Cities area bridge which carries more than 28,000 vehicles a day – a fifth of them trucks, the governor said. “Since its opening in 1973 the bridge deck had never been replaced,” Mr. Pritzker added. “It’s a remarkable fact; not once in 50 years. Decades of neglect led to uneven surfaces and frequent congestion and dangerous conditions.” The restoration of the Baker Bridge included replacing that old deck, repainting the bridges to preserve the steel substructure and updating the lighting infrastructure. In addition, workers resurfaced I-280 from the bridge to just east of the Milan Beltway as well as ramps on the Centennial Expressway interchange. “When we make smart investments in the roadways that working families and businesses rely on, we’re constructing a better future for the entire region — one where parents and their children can commute with confidence and where new factories and distribution centers are choosing to locate in Illinois, so they can reliably ship their products across the nation,” Mr. Pritzker said.