WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Traffic Issue with Nature Preserve

Fulton County, IL – A wetland restoration project in Fulton County is causing a bit of a traffic safety concern.

State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said some of those who drive on the highway along the Emiquon Preserve slow down to check out the wildlife. But other drivers who are traveling at the speed limit can suddenly come up on them, possibly leading to a crash.

Sullivan said there is not enough of a shoulder along the road for sightseers to pull over, and there is no money in the state's capital projects bill to help build places for them to stop.

"It could be a pretty expensive project, depending on what extent we need to go," Sullivan said. "If nothing else, perhaps some signs might even be of some assistance."

Sullivan said The Nature Conservancy is aware of the issue and is working on it.

The Nature Conservancy developed the Emiquon Preserve on 7,100 acres between Havana and Peoria. It was done through the group's Illinois River program. The Nature Conservancy says most of the development was paid for through private donations.

The project was started in 2007. It opened for fishing in 2009.

Sullivan and State Representative Rich Myers (R-Colchester) recently toured the wetland restoration project. Sullivan said thousands of people visit the site.

"And it's not just from here locally. It's from a very wide range," said Sullivan. He said that could help the region's economy.

Repairs for Argyle Lake State Park

Sullivan believes it's just a matter of time before repairs are made to the road around Argyle Lake State Park.

Half of the road is closed due to damage from a flash flood three years ago.

Sullivan said engineering studies are being done to make repairs and to improve the road. He said the project could go out to bid as soon as January.

"That's if everything falls in line. If not, it would be in subsequent lettings early next year. Our hope is the actual construction could start when the weather turns better after this coming winter, so next spring," said Sullivan.

Sullivan is confident there is money in the capital bill to pay for the work. He said both the Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Department of Transportation will need to approve the plan.