BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Ruth Kiser has more hopes for the final phase of improvements for East Main Street than just a new wider and smoother roadway.
The East Main Street resident hopes the trend in more crime and other problems subside with the aesthetically-improved area.
“It’s scary,” she said of her neighborhood. “Maybe this will help. We’re hopeful.”
Ruth and her husband, Ronnie’s, home has been broken into and her safety feels threatened. They’ve lived there since the 1960s.
Ruth said their children want them to move, but she says they’re too old and settled.
Ruth and Ronnie attended a public meeting Thursday at Danville Area Community College to learn more about Phase 3 of the East Main Street widening project.
Weather permitting, work will begin Monday for the widening and resurfacing of Main Street (U.S. Route 136) from National Street (just west of the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System entrance) east to Lick Creek in Danville. That’s when traffic controls and other beginning work will move into place and start.
About 20,600 passenger vehicles and trucks a day, the average daily traffic on this stretch of Main Street, will be affected by the construction.
The project includes storm sewer, widening, milling and resurfacing of Main Street. The roadway will be 8 feet wider than it is now.
Traffic on Main Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction during the day starting around March 18. After that date, the reduced lanes will continue around the clock.
Entrances to the VA and DACC will remain open.
The night work won’t start until March due to any more possible snow events, according to Dan Long, vice president with Cross Construction of Urbana. Cross Construction is the contractor for the $6.9 million project.
While work is ongoing, IDOT officials ask drivers to observe all traffic control signs.
“To make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs,” said Kensil Garnett, District 5 project implementation engineer for IDOT. “Give us a chance.”
He asks for residents’ patience during the construction project’s process. To prep for the work, several gas, water and other utility lines have to be relocated.
The anticipated completion date is May 2014, weather permitting, for the entire project.
Motorists are advised to slow down and drive carefully through this and all work zones.
Land acquisition was needed for almost 80 parcels for this third phase of the project, including some land from the Kisers.
Ruth said she doesn’t mind having less grass to mow. Their yard also will see a new wall in front, and a new fence.
The East Side Tap building will be demolished to straighten the jog that exists from Iowa Street to the VA entrance. Vehicles will be able to exit the VA and travel straight across Main Street.
The entrance signs at the VA and DACC also will have to be moved.
IDOT began widening Main Street in 2003.
Partial city costs, totaling $76,360, will be for traffic signals at the VA and Iowa Street, DACC and Indiana Avenue and at Oregon Street; highway signal interconnect; sidewalks; and highway lighting.