Driving out west several years ago, we had to go through Rockford. All I remember about the area is that after we left the Rockford area, there was nothing but open lands after we passed the city. I didn’t realize that I was in US Route 20 territory.
Apparently there are problems with the Rockford US 20 bypass that may require a re-working of the interchange. An article (below) from BusinessRockford.com and rrstar.com describes the situation.
“Improvements in store for U.S. 20 bypass
Jan 28, 2008 @ 03:21 PM
By Thomas V. Bona
Greg Peet gets on the U.S. 20 bypass, but he doesn’t like it.
He uses the interchange at Illinois 2, which still has a cloverleaf design that forces traffic to merge on the highway while avoiding exiting traffic.
“My feeling is that style of interchange is unsafe,” said Peet, branch manager of nearby construction-equipment dealer Patten Industries. “I have had a number of instances where certainly people were coming off faster than I came on.”
State officials agree and, as early as 2010, they’ll be replacing the cloverleaf with a simpler diamond interchange that will cut the conflicts by merging traffic.
“It accommodates higher traffic volumes at a safer level of service,” said Jay Howell, studies and plan engineer for IDOT’s Dixon office. “The diamond interchange has been the preferred interchange for a number of years. We haven’t been able to replace them until money has become available.”
It’s part of an $11 million reconstruction of the bypass around Illinois 2. The bridges, which were built in 1962, need to be replaced anyway, Howell said. Not only are they old, but they’re only 14 feet above the ground where 16 feet is the standard.
The state is planning on pouring a lot of money into the bypass in the next few years.
The decks of the bridges over Illinois 251 and Simpson Road, as well as the Montague Road bridge over the bypass, will be replaced this year. The Meridian Road bridge over the bypass will be replaced in the next few years.
Next year, the state will finish a study of how to add a third lane in each direction to the bypass between the Cherry Valley interchange and the Interstate 39 exit. After that, the state will consider a similar expansion between I-39 and Illinois 2.
“We look at long-range traffic projections,” Howell said. “U.S. 20 is increasing all the time.”
The bypass has about 33,400 vehicles a day in the area between Illinois 251 and Illinois 2, according to the most recent data available by IDOT. In 20 years, that’s expected to increase to 60,000 vehicles a day, Howell said.
Trucks make up about 12 percent of the traffic on that stretch of the bypass, according to IDOT. Truck traffic will particularly grow, he said, with the addition of the Lowe’s distribution center nearby and plans to add businesses at Chicago Rockford International Airport. “
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