Despite a packed house of attentive and concerned Tri-County residents, the only noise at the kickoff meeting for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Eastern Bypass Study was a few thunder claps and some falling rain.


Despite a packed house of attentive and concerned Tri-County residents, the only noise at the kickoff meeting for the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Eastern Bypass Study was a few thunder claps and some falling rain.

The open-house style meeting at Countryside Banquet Facility in Washington Tuesday night had large crowds gathered around enlarged maps of the Tri-County area that would be affected by the proposed four-lane highway connecting I-74 with Illinois Route 6.

Much of the crowd gathered for the IDOT slideshow and formal presentation were eager to voice their opinions on the bypass topic.
However, they were surprised to discover after 30 minutes there was not a question and answer opportunity.

Instead, they were encouraged to get involved by filling out an application for the Community Advisory Group which will act as a liaison between IDOT and the communities affected by the bypass.

IDOT wants to find someone from every walk of life that would be affected by the project, including farmers, business owners and homeowners.
The project is currently in the corridor phase which will take about two years to complete.

Provided there is adequate funding at the time and a corridor is identified, the alignment phase would follow, which is a three-year process.
The entire bypass project could carry a price tag of nearly $1 billion.

Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Peoria), according to IDOT Deputy Director of Highways Joe Crowe, considers the eastern bypass a top transportation priority for the region and is looking into future federal funding.

Talk of the proposed eastern bypass dates back to 1969 when East Peoria started a comprehensive study on the topic.

Another attempt was made to get support for the corridor in 1998, but public input was not considered, which lead to negative attitudes about the project.

To learn more about the eastern bypass study or to get involved, check out IDOT’s Web site dedicated to the study at www.easternbypass.com.