Peoria city officials hear public input on University Street reconstruction plans

By Marshanna Hester

July 10, 2013 Updated Jul 11, 2013 at 9:29 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Residents near a proposed reconstruction project on University Street are adamant they want the center turn lane to stay.

Wednesday night, the public heard three design plans by the city to improve University between Nebraska and Forrest Hill avenues.

The original idea is a four-lane road, wider sidewalks and no center turn lane.

To keep it, the city could make the road three lanes, add bike lanes and sidewalks.

Or, officials could design a five-lane road with sidewalks. But that option would require up to five feet of property from some residents.

Businesses like Agatucci's said they don't have it to give and one neighbor left the meeting unsatisfied.

"I believe I was talking to politicians and I believe their minds have already been made up on exactly what they're going to do," said Michael Worley, who lives on University Street. "This was just another way to try to calm us down before whatever is to come.

"It's one of the most heavily traveled roads in Peoria," said Scott Reeise, City of Peoria Engineer. "It's starting to deteriorate. If we can catch it now with a structural improvement, we're not looking at a complete reconstruction ."

Councilman Chuck Grayeb said he will continue to work with city staff to find the best solution for all parties involved.

It will be up to the city council to make the final decision on the federally-funded project.