Last week in this column, I mentioned that I had called the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Region 4, District 7, office, which includes Decatur and Macon County to find out what kind of road construction projects are planned for our area. As I also mentioned, it seems like there is a lot of road work going on in other parts of the state. If we don’t get some of our state roads in and around Decatur, repaired or replaced, we may have to go back to the horse and buggy to travel in the area. (Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but they are bad.)
Jeffrey P. Myers, P.E. the Region 4 Engineer contacted me and indicated that the department’s “FY 2020 to 2025 proposed highway improvement program continues to be developed,” so he could not speak to any projects in the new program. Myers said the department’s current program is the FY 2019 to 2024 proposed highway improvement program continues to be developed,” so he could not speak to any projects in the new program.
Myers said the department’s current program is the FY 2019 to 2024 proposed highway improvement program, which was released in the spring of 2018.
Here’s that list: Bridge superstructure replacement of I-72 over IL 121 & ICRR NW of Decatur Bridge superstructure replacement of IL 105 over Lake Decatur (Williams St Bridge) Bridge replacement of US 36/IL 121 over Lake Shore Drive (just west of Lake Decatur) Bridge joint repair of US 36 over IL 48 Resurfacing of I-72 from west of US 51 to west of US 51 at Forsyth Resurfacing of US 36 from IL 48 (Fairview) to Church St Resurfacing of US 36/IL 121 from 19th St to east of Airport Road Resurfacing of US 51 from north of Forsyth Road to I-72 Resurfacing of IL 121 from US 36 to south corporate limits of Mt Zion Resurfacing of Old US 51 (N Main & N Water) from I-72 to IL 121/IL 48 (Pershing) Resurfacing of Old US 51 (N Main & N Water) from IL 121/IL 48 (Pershing) to US 36 (Eldorado) That’s the line-up, subject to change when everything is finalized, which should come next month. Myers told me that, when more information is finalized, he will contact me.
The information is also available on the IDOT website at http://www.idot.illinois.gov/transportation-system/transportation-management/transportation-improvement-programs-/multi-modal-transportation-improvement-program/index. The information broken down by county can be found at http://www.idot .illinois.gov/Assets/uploads/files/Transportation-System/Reports/ OP&P/HIP/2019-2024/ilcounty/macon .pdf.
•BIG TRUCKS DOWNTOWN— It seems to me, from personal observation in the downtown area every day, that more and more huge semi trucks are moving through the area. Unless the drivers are there to take products, such as food, etc, to downtown businesses, the semi-trucks are banned from downtown. If they are heading north on Franklin St., the drivers are to turn right on Wood Street and take the alternate route. If the drivers are going south on Main Street, they are to turn east or west at Eldorado and avoid the core area of downtown. The same is true on Water Street, which has two-way traffic. No semi-trucks allowed.
As I walk to the post office each day and cross Franklin Street, I have a view from Wood Street to Eldorado, and I see more and more semis blasting through downtown and they are not stopping to deliver food or other pro-ducts, because they go through Wood St. without turning and keep on going past Eldorado, usually without slowing down. My office windows have a clear view of Main Street and I see the same thing happening there, more and more.
The reason the City of Decatur acquired those downtown stretches from the State of Illinois, was so the semi trucks (unless delivering to downtown businesses) would not be blowing through downtown and outside diners at sidewalk tables would not be hit my a rock or object from the tires of a semi. Like most laws, after a time, those who break them feel justified because it saves them time — but it sure does make downtown less safe. The signage is in place, but, apparently is ignored by some semi drivers.
• POT OR NOT? The Decatur City Council will hold a special meeting on Sept. 30, at 5:30, to discuss whether the city should opt out of allowing a marijuana dispensary in the city limits. The meeting will be held in the theatre of the Decatur Civic Center in downtown Decatur. The first of the year, recreational marijuana will be legal in Illinois — but is illegal according to federal law.