Caterpillar Concerned for Employee Safety

By Joe Bennett

August 11, 2011 Updated Aug 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM CDT

Caterpillar's concerns for employee safety amid plans for a road project in downtown Peoria have diminished.

Caterpillar initially felt that narrowing Washington Street would divert more traffic along Caterpillar World Headquarters on Adams Street.

Caterpillar spokesperson Jim Dugan says had that been the case, the safety of 3,000 Caterpillar employees would be at risk.

"It appears their analysis says that is not the case," says Dugan. "Obviously the city is responsible for traffic flow in and around the city, including the downtown area. We just wanted to make sure there were no significant changes that might create an extra safety hazard for those employees."

"Our focus really is on narrowing down the traffic lane, slowing the traffic down and making the area more walkable," according to Mayor Jim Ardis. "Not only employees downtown, but visitors in Peoria."

Ardis says Washington Street construction should begin soon, and part of the project could be finished by early 2013.