Stimulus money funds additional Peoria construction

Stimulus money injected a throng of construction projects through Peoria, with progress continuing on many of them, a city engineer said.
Jeff Smith of the City of Peoria said more roadwork projects have been undertaken this year because of Illinois Department of Transportation Economic Stimulus money.
“There’s an interest in spending money and spending it quickly,” Smith said. “We take on many simple projects like road overlay projects. The more complicated it is, the more time it takes.”
The city received about $1.5 million from the state for highway infrastructure investment, according to the Stimulus Tracker of the City of Peoria. The money is for restoration, repair and construction to roads.
Smith said the IDOT stimulus money spurred the road overlay work on War Memorial Drive, as well as some current work on North Knoxville Avenue and Washington Street.
Those projects are “moving along pretty well,” Smith said, and more IDOT stimulus-funded work is expected in the future, as portions of University Street will receive funded work next summer.
Other construction projects around the city are initiated by other departments, such as Illinois American Water and the Greater Peoria Sanitary District and special assessment projects.
These projects include work on Columbia Terrace in the West Bluff, curb and gutter replacement on Griswold Street south of Sterling Avenue and sidewalk work near Glen Oak School.
Work on Main Street has been ongoing as well, Smith said. The project is a sanitary sewer replacement, requiring workers to dig a deep hole and closing the road between Crescent Avenue and Globe Street. But the recent bad weather has delayed the project.
“It’s taking longer than expected,” Smith said. “That deep hole filled with water, but we’re in the process of buttoning it up.”
He said Main Street will likely reopen by early next week.
Roadwork around Methodist Hospital is also continuing and will likely go into next summer, Smith said. Improvements to roads near OSF St. Francis are also “making good progress.”
But while roadwork projects press on, some students are left frustrated with driving in Peoria.
Senior early childhood and elementary education major Kelly Zibton said the current construction influx “seems like a lot.”
She said area construction adds about 10 to 15 minutes to her commute to work in north Peoria, and she has to plan accordingly since she was already delayed by construction and late to work once.
“I hate War Memorial,” Zibton said. “It stretches across Peoria so there’s no way to get around it.”