Residents worry about construction traffic on residential streets

By WEEK Producer

March 20, 2014 Updated Mar 27, 2014 at 7:26 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Spring has sprung in central Illinois but with warmer weather, comes road construction.

The intersection of Main and University has been closed for more than a week. On Thursday, the City of Peoria closed off two more roads, Elmwood Avenue and Parkside Drive.

Crews are putting a permanent fix on a water main that broke in September.

While the work is needed, it has created a nightmare for west bluff residents.

Dianne Edley has lived in the Uplands neighborhood for more than a decade but today it doesn't feel quite like home.

"I can't let my kids ride their bikes out front,” she said. “I have to watch the front and the back because we have people cutting through the alleys."

What was once a quiet, peaceful neighborhood is now a traffic hot spot.

"This recent traffic is a lot for this neighborhood,” said Uplands Neighborhood Association President Burgit Smith. “Cars constantly speeding by blowing through stop signs."

Edley and her four kids live in the heart of it. Columbia Terrace is the first right from the detour. After someone dinged her car and ran, she's not convinced her kids are safe.

"Well it's frustrating because it's a pretty safe neighborhood for my kids and now I'm concerned someone’s going to get hit,” she said.

"The problem is these streets are very narrow they're not designed for this kind of traffic," said Peoria Police Sgt. Jerry Bainter. "When people do go down these streets at 25 miles per hour it does look like it's excessive."

Peoria police have been patrolling the area every day. They have given out more than 100 tickets since the project started.

"We're currently putting speed bumps on the some of the area streets so it's not going to be convenient for the drivers trying to cut through here,” said Sgt. Bainter.

Residents said they are happy that police are cracking down. They said they will be even happier when the project is over.

For the meantime, everyone using the busy intersection will just have to find another way.

Police are urging drivers to use posted detours. They say Interstate-74 is the best way to go south towards downtown, and the detour on Farmington Road is the best way to go west.