Rt. 127 Project Update

In the fall of last year, WGEL reported on a project planned by the Illinois Department of Transportation, to improve Illinois Rt. 127 at Interstate 70.

At the time, City Manager Dave Willey expressed his opposition to IDOT’s plans to completely close Rt. 127 at the I-70 bridge, and the interstate ramps to 127.

The bid has been awarded to include the closing, but the city continues to rally for one lane being open at all times and light signals.

A public meeting with the IDOT engineer had been scheduled for next week, but has been postponed to allow IDOT to explore options other than lengthy closures.

At last week’s city council meeting, Mayor Alan Gaffner addressed the issue and the city’s stance. He said the city is concerned from a public safety perspective, as first responders would have to take a lengthy detour to arrive on an emergency scene. The economic development component would have a big impact as well. He said businesses along that route would be “virtually closed” to the traffic they depend on. Gaffner said the city manager estimated the closure could mean a decrease of $100,000 in city sales tax.

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Gaffner said legislators have been contacted in support of the city’s viewpoint.

City Manager Dave Willey reported about 8,000 vehicles travel Rt. 127 at that location each day. He is not sure when the project will begin, but believes it could be in the spring.

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