Public Gets First Look at New Designs for Champaign Highway

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Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Transportation announced plans to redesign the interchange that merges I-74 with I-57. It's been one of the worst interchanges in the state for crashes, 2 of them fatal. This is the first opportunity for the public to come and take a look at the five alternative designs to the I-57/74 interchange. It will allow them to give their input on which layout they think is best. Engineers will take those comments and decide on a final design.

Josh Hartke of the Champaign County Board says the proposal comes after community complaints. Since 2007, the interchange has seen more than 300 accidents.

"The concerns lead to us, you know, as public official to want to have the models to look at so that if we are going to commit to doing this project, we know then how to estimate the cost, you know, which solution is better for the community, which has a less of a footprint," said Hartke.

He says highways are always tricky.

"When you see the extent of curves on certain ones, each of these plans is going to require structures to elevate lanes, said Kurtz. So, you know, it's going to be an interesting debate."

It's estimated that the cost of construction will be more than 100 million dollars. Alan Kurtz, Chairman of the Champaign County Board says this is an ambitious goal.

"The key for me is complete funding of the entire project so that we can safely have a reconstructed interchange for the safety of our public," said Kurtz.

Engineers hope to decide on a new design within the next year and a half.

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