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|U.S. Highway 34 Expansion Faces Financial, Environmental Challenges
|A plan to make U-S Route 34 from Monmouth to Burlington a four-lane highway still has hurdles to clear before it's finished.
Members of the Highway 34 Coalition and a large public contingent gathered at West Central Elementary School in Biggsville heard from the Illinois Department of Transportation's Tom Lacy, who provided an update Monday night on the status of the $400-million project.
The Highway 34 Coalition is a strong proponent of expanding the 23.6 miles of road into a four-lane expressway to make the corridor safer and, officials say, to connect the region to the global economy.
Lacy, studies and plans engineer for IDOT District 4 in Peoria, started by giving an overview of the U-S 34 project from Carman in Henderson County near the Mississippi River to Monmouth. There are four construction sections planned for that project and Lacy says three of them are not fully funded at this point.
"Kind of in a little bit of a holding pattern right now as far as the Carman (Road) to TR 111, that is the only section that's currently funded for construction and that is slated for Fiscal Year 2012," Lacy said.
Lacy says the reason for the holding pattern is the Army Corps of Engineers last June decertified the levees near Carman and Gulfport following the flood of 2008. He says officials are doing an analysis of raising the road approximately 15 feet to a 100-year flood level and the challenges, environmental and others, associated with that. The study is expected to be finished this week. It will be sent to the federal government for a decision on how to proceed. The issues have to be taken care of before the work can begin in the summer of 2012.
Lacy says the stretch of Carman Road to TR 111, or Henderson County Highway 1350 East, is 8.1 miles. The $65.5 million price tag is fully funded, primarily with money from the state's recent capital bill, and Lacy says planning is 95 percent complete.
The unfunded total of the remaining 15-plus miles is between $230-$250 million.
Tom Lacy, Studies & Plans Engineer for IDOT, gives an update Monday night at West Central Elementary School on the status of the U.S. Route 34 expansion plan in Henderson and Warren counties
(WGIL News Story and Photo by Mike Perry)
|03 16 10 by Newsroom
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