US 20 Widening

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

Several business leaders and politicians from northern Illinois are becoming the driving force for a $20 million widening of US 20 west of Freeport. They say it's time to remove roadblocks that are getting in the way of funding for the project.

"There needs to be some kind of compromise or some understanding on how they're going to push this forward. You have to fund projects and be able to work with all representatives, both Democrat and Republican, to make sure projects do happen," Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp said.

The width of US 20 between Freeport and Galena makes it a road less traveled. The bypass narrows down to two lanes west of Freeport. For 50 years business owners have been advocating to have 20 widened to four lanes.

"It would definitely impact business. I think we would get more business because the road would be traveled more," said Kim Ziegelbauer, manager of Amerihost Inn and Suites.

A capital plan that included funding for widening of 20 was rejected by Illinois Republicans. They want more details before they will support Gov. Blagojevich's proposal.

"All we ask is a revenue stream. Where is the money going to come from and how will the money be spent?" said Jim Sacia, IL State Representative.

The coalition of people who are trying to get funding for 20 are starting a petition drive in Stephenson County. They're trying to get 850 signatures to show politicians in Springfield it's time to fund an expansion that would pave a fast track to economic commerce.


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