Wednesday marked a milestone for the route 29 construction project as its supporters visited the site on foot for the first time.
"It's pretty exciting. I mean we've got three inches of asphalt laid out there and that's pretty neat. It's been a long time coming," said Project Leader Mike Bell.
He said the road's expansion from two lanes to four will make it safer and faster for travelers. The highway's path will also be re-routed to make passage smoother. Safety, however, isn't the only thing that will improve. Bell said the expected finish has already stimulated the local economy. Some businesses in Central Illinois are planning to expand into Christian County.
"We really call it an economic corridor and I think that's what those folks see it as and they want to be part of it and why wouldn't they be," Bell said.
One business owner proved that not everyone is excited about the economic changes to come.
"I think it's going to hurt my business and the next door business," said Jan Buttram, owner of Jan's Bar & Grill. "And I use to get a lot of business off the highway you know coming through they'd stop at the gas station and they would ask you know where to eat at and they would come here."
Buttram believed that, thanks to the re-routing of the roads, travelers will no longer have a reason to drive through downtown Edinburg, where her business is located. Route 29 is expected to be complete by the spring of 2015.
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