Right now south Main Street isn't the most picturesque gateway to Rockford. But muddy bulldozers will soon be replaced by a beautiful park and a safer entrance to Rockford's south side.
"Anyone who's driven on this road knows it needs a lot of attention. So every area that we can improve, we can make it smoother, put signals in," said Jeff Kemp, an IDOT engineer.
The widening of South Main required the elimination of a trailer park and the demolition of several buildings. Two buildings on the corner of Clifton Avenue and South Main St. will soon be gone, and instead Clifton Avenue will run straight through the property.
"It's going to tie up so we have a better intersection with the main roadway. We're going to put in left turn lanes and right turn lanes on both sides of the intersection," Kemp said.
City and county leaders bought a piece of land that connects Klehm Arboretum to South Main Street along Clifton Avenue. The property will be landscaped and named gateway park.
"For us to have a presence out on Main Street and contribute to beautification with this Gateway Park and having high quality seasonal plantings I think will raise the bar on what people can expect when they come into the Arboretum and also folks coming into Rockford," said Brent Dennis, executive director of Klehm Arboretum.
Reconstruction is expected to be complete by October of next year.