Proposed Eastside Highway options narrowed for McLean County residents

By Audrey Wise

June 20, 2013 Updated Jun 20, 2013 at 10:16 AM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- Residents in McLean County are reviewing the final two options to a proposed roadway that would run around the east side of Bloomington-Normal.

Engineers have been studying the Eastside Highway project for several years now and have narrowed more than 100 potential routes down to two.

The proposals would connect at Interstate 74 near Downs, then cross over Interstate 55 and connect to Ziebarth Road in Normal.

Project manager Jerry Payonk said this roadway will help with access to projected growth in the area, not act as a bypass.

"You'll have easier access to Fort Jesse, GE, Empire, Cheney's Grove Road, Ireland Grove Road, I-74 and I-55, but it will have very little benefit as a bypass," said Payonk.

Mike Virlee lives near the Ziebarth portion of the proposed roadway.

"I understand the need for future planning, but as I look at both of the proposals, I'm wondering why they're going to run a parallel road to the current 55, which just added a third lane about two years ago," he said.

Project leaders want public input before they submit a preferred route to the Federal Highway Administration at the end of next year.

No funding is secured for the next phases, including final design, land acquisition and construction.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.