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Hearing to focus on east-side highway environmental study

Hearing to focus on east-side highway environmental study

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BLOOMINGTON -- It will take four years for the next step in finding a location for a proposed highway along Bloomington-Normal's east side.

A planned environmental study to pinpoint the alignment will be discussed during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 400 of the Government Center, 115 E. Washington St.

The proposed highway would connect Interstate 55 near Towanda to I-74 near Downs.

"This is a very involved study and a very large area to be studied," said McLean County Highway Engineer Eric Schmitt said. "It will take some time."

The hearing will include an overview of the $1.2 million study that began in March 2007. The plan, drafted by Clark-Dietz, a Champaign engineering firm, narrowed a possible location to a 500-foot wide corridor roughly a half-mile east of Towanda Barnes Road.

The $13.6 million environmental study would narrow the corridor to 175 to 200 feet wide. The money was included in the state's $31 billion construction bill approved in July.

Schmitt said a request for proposals will be created following the hearing.

The Clark-Dietz plan calls for the highway to be constructed as a four-lane expressway with partially controlled access, similar to U.S. 51 south of Bloomington.

Engineers estimate construction would take 20 years and cost $260 million to $320 million.


What: Public hearing on the eastside highway environmental study.

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 13).

Where: Room 400, Government Center, 115 E. Washington St., Bloomington.


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