Numerous transportation concerns were raised at an Illinois Department of Transportation listening session in Galesburg. The biggest one is about a project that's been discussed for more than two decades: the widening of Route 34 between Monmouth and Gulfport.
Monmouth City Administrator Lowell Crow brought up the need to expand the highway to four lanes. He told the crowd it was “vital” for his city to see it happen. He said expansion is needed because of continued growth in Monmouth.
“34 is the main connection between Cloverleaf Cold Storage & Distribution (in Monmouth) and Fort Madison with Walmart’s Distribution Center down there. We going to continue to see truck traffic. We’ve estimated that we’ll see 2,000 trucks a week in and out of Monmouth Cold Storage,” Crow said.
Crow also suggested Route 34 would be safer if it was a four-lane divided highway. He said there have been a number of fatal crashes on the two lane blacktop.
Other people who attended the forum said a four-lane road would allow for quicker travel times.
Other topics discussed during the I-DOT session included railroad services, road repairs, and vehicle registration fees.
I-DOT Deputy Secretary Christine Reed led the listening session. She said it won't be easy to address all the issues raised.
“Right now, it’s very frustrating because the resources are certainly inadequate to cover the needs. So we try to do the best that we can to focus on the areas where we can make the most improvements,” Reed said.
As an example of the state's tight finances, Reed said Illinois has only has around $15 million in its budget to repair thousands of township bridges in its 102 counties.
She said the points raised at the session would be taken back to Springfield for discussion with legislators to determine which should be given the greatest priority.