MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- Winter is finished and that means Illinois’ second season, construction season, is upon us. We will have to take it slow while driving through one section of Machesney Park as road work is already underway on IL Route 173.
With the melting of the snow comes the arrival of the orange traffic cones in Machesney Park. The Illinois Department of Transportation has kicked off work to finish widening Illinois Route 173.The two year long project is something shoppers in this busy corridor say they are dreading.
"It's a long time to wait, especially with the infrastructure and commerce that's coming this way, that's a long time to wait," says shopper Scott Englehart of Roscoe.
"I think it’s a little ridiculous. They should have actually done a little bit more when they had this torn up before,” says Sherry Fry of Rockton. “It should have been done right the first time."
Crews worked from summer 2011 to summer 2012 to widen Route 173 from Route 251 to Alpine Road. This time around, a 2 and a half mile stretch of Rt. 173 from Alpine Road to the Interstate 90 interchange will be widened from two to four lanes. New stoplights and turn lanes will be installed at several intersections. The project’s $28 million price tag also includes new sidewalks and storm sewers.
“Going to four lanes is going to make it a lot easier, it’s really congested with 2 lanes, you got to really pay attention. The traffic is thick so if they can thin it out, it'll make it easier for everyone to get in and out of the places around here," says James Keen.
Drivers will need to keep an eye out for workers and flaggers directing traffic. At certain times, there will only be one lane open in each direction while crews complete this project. The Illinois Department of Transportation expects the new roadway will be completed in November 2015.