Residents impact road project

DeWayne Bartels

A widened Northmoor Avenue, without a stoplight to serve the residential streets feeding onto the busy street, is not a cause for celebration for everyone living on or near the busy North Peoria thoroughfare.

About 40 residents along the street turned out for a public meeting March 18, attended by 4th District councilman Bill Spears, 5th District councilman Pat Nichting, Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria) and Rep. Dave Leitch (R-Peoria). The meeting was designed for the public officials to give residents a chance to hear new plans for the construction project. But, it was the residents who did most of the talking.

Input changes plans

Risinger said earlier input from many of the same people at the meeting caused a dramatic change in the plans for the multi-million dollar project that will unfold over about a 15-year period.

Risinger said no longer do plans call for making Northmoor, from Allen Road to University Street, a five-lane street. Instead, plans now call for only five lanes at both of the major intersections. The road is now planned for only three lanes through most of the residential area between Allen and University.

However, Risinger said, the plans have to show five lanes in order to get the federal government to pick up 70 percent of the project’s cost.

"The feds said this project, with future traffic projections, needs to be five lanes," Risinger said.

The federal government is willing to pay for a project that only involves three lanes as long as planning is done for five lanes. Risinger said the city has no choice but to go along with the federal government’s wishes. 

"This project is well beyond the scope of the city’s ability to pay," he said. "We need the federal funds ... Don’t worry about five lanes being built. That’s the city’s decision. You are the city."

Prior to the start of the meeting, Nichting said residents on and near Northmoor do not have to worry about a five-lane road.

"The city would have to pay for those other two lanes to be built," Nichting said. "That won’t be budgeted."

For more on this story see the 3/26 issue of the Peoria Times-Observer