Rockford’s West State Street reopening draws statewide attention

Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 11:34 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - An eight-block section of West State Street in Rockford reopens this week after nearly seven months of construction.

Working in partnership with Rockford, the Illinois Department of Transportation finished the project’s third and final phase, a $6.5 million improvement that widened the road from two to four lanes of traffic in each direction, and added features to encourage residents to utilize the strip for both transportation and leisure.

“It’s not only about investing in roads and bridges, though. Rebuild Illinois is about investing in our communities and the people who serve them every single day. With the completion of the West State Street project, we’ve done just that, making a main thoroughfare safer for those who rely on it every day,” said Gov. Pritzker.

Road construction began in April on U.S. Business 20 between Independence and Day avenues. The project brings several upgrades to the area; new storm sewers, traffic signals, sidewalks equipped for pedestrians with disabilities and a bike path.

Along with funds from Governor JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Act, the city contributed the cost of several aesthetic elements, hoping to attract businesses back to the west side.

“This work has transformed the west entrance to our city and now provides a warmer welcome for our residents and visitors,” said mayor Tom McNamara.

Mayor McNamara is hoping private investors will move into the area and has already seen residents in the area investing in their own properties.

“We really want this to be a point of pride. We want residents over here who have been neglected for years to know that they are valued, they’re important to us, and we’re investing in every corner of the city of Rockford,” he said.

With pothole-less roads, smooth sidewalks, and cyclable pathways, residents like Vice President of the West Gate Coalition, Catherine Brown, are excited to see what becomes of the area.

“It feels good to know that the street is open. Normally I wouldn’t come beyond central but when I saw this was open I just cruised on down I love it,” Brown said.