Byron's main thoroughfare has gotten an extreme makeover over the past year. The changes are designed to make it safer and easier to get through this Ogle County town. $5.3 million worth of improvements were made to Route 2, including new pavement. Many in the area say the project was long overdue.
"The roadway needed to be improved; it was in poor shape physically. It had been many years since it had last been resurfaced," says John Wegmeyer, a Project Implementation Engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
"Traffic moves well and with the center lane there for left turns, it makes it a lot easier than it used to be," says resident Tim Tomljanovich.
"You don't have to worry about people going around you when you want to turn. Now, you can get in a turn lane and it’s a little less frustration that way, I think," says resident Laurie Cook.
In addition to the smoother surface, residents will also notice new landscaping, wider turn lanes, and a new stoplight.
"I think that it makes the entire community safer; it’s easier to navigate; it’s just a beautiful addition to our community," says Byron 2nd Ward Alderman Robin Sisouk.
"With the new highway and the landscaping, it will be aesthetically pleasing to businesses that are looking to land in our community," says Byron Mayor R. Scot Nason.
Nason adds those businesses interested in moving to Byron could bring as many as thirty jobs to town.
Other improvements to Route Two are also underway south of Byron in Oregon.