Public Forum Held to Discuss Route 13 Expansion
CARTERVILLE -- There's plenty of road construction going on in our region right now, but IDOT is already planning more projects along one of our busiest highways. Thursday night, the agency's held a public forum to discuss the next phase of work on Route 13.
IDOT estimates Route 13 handles more than thirty thousand vehicles every day , a number that's likely to grow over the next decade. That's why engineers are looking to expand the highway from four to six lanes from Shawnee Trail Road west of Carterville to Giant City Road in Carbondale.
"It's dumb to stop at the lake when probably most of the traffic is from Carterville to Carbondale," said motorist Andy Roberts.
Roberts' opinion is likely similar to many of these drivers buzzing by on the busy road, but not everyone thinks it's a good idea.
"I think they could have better spent the money maybe expanding Route 24 to St. Louis," explained motorist David Mendrinski. "I know it makes traffic move a little faster, but it's a big expense for a small reward."
IDOT engineers like Carrie Nelsen say the reward will pay off for decades.
"Our design will accommodate traffic for the next twenty years," said Nelsen. "Some of the intersections are already experiencing problems."
In the past, the Crab Orchard Refuge has been an obstacle in widening this stretch of highway, but IDOT has worked out an easement plan with the refuge. Still, the project is in the early stages and does not have a current timeline.
"We do not have funding to buy right of way, or build this segment of the project, but we are getting it ready so that if funding becomes available, our project will be ready to go to construction," explained Nelsen.
Construction is estimated between $30-40 million.
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