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Author Topic: U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?  (Read 3019 times)

I-39

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U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?
« on: March 04, 2015, 05:01:18 PM »

So I know I have posted about how U.S 51 should have been upgraded into I-39 south of Bloomington to Decatur, but obviously, we know that is not going to happen.

I am genuinely curious though. Does anyone know if IDOT has any long range plans to upgrade and/or improve any part of the U.S 51 expressway between Bloomington and Decatur, such as building a proper bypass around Forsyth, redoing the Clinton bypass to eliminate the stoplights, redoing the road around Wapella, etc?

I find it funny how former Gov. Pat Quinn discussed the need for a southeastern bypass connecting U.S 51 to I-72, but fixing this segment of U.S 51 is more necessary (and would be more worthwhile) IMO.

Note: This is not a discussion for the expressway improvements south of Decatur, it is for any expressway improvements/upgrades north of Decatur to Bloomington-Normal
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Rick Powell

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Re: U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2015, 07:32:08 PM »

I haven't heard anything to that effect.  IDOT District 5 does not have a lot on their plate now except for the re-do of the I-57/I-74 interchange.  You might check with the DUATS website, which is the transportation planning arm of the Decatur MPO.  http://www.ci.decatur.il.us/citygovernment/duats.htm

Looking there at Chapter 5 of their 2040 plan, I don't see any new road projects except starting a belt line on the eastern side of Decatur.  No activity that resembles a Forsyth bypass.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 07:40:29 PM by Rick Powell »
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Rick Powell

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Re: U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2015, 07:44:01 PM »

And Bloomington-Normal's biggest expansion project is the long-planned East Side Highway that connects I-74 and I-55 somewhere to the east of Towanda-Barnes Road.  It is going to be a long slog getting that one done, much less taking on a new alignment of US 51.  The ESH was once looked at to swing all the way over around Shirley on I-55, but I don't think it is being seriously considered anymore, at least in this generation.

http://www.eastsidehighway.com/
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 07:46:15 PM by Rick Powell »
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I-39

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Re: U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2015, 07:50:56 PM »

I haven't heard anything to that effect.  IDOT District 5 does not have a lot on their plate now except for the re-do of the I-57/I-74 interchange.  You might check with the DUATS website, which is the transportation planning arm of the Decatur MPO.  http://www.ci.decatur.il.us/citygovernment/duats.htm

Looking there at Chapter 5 of their 2040 plan, I don't see any new road projects except starting a belt line on the eastern side of Decatur.  No activity that resembles a Forsyth bypass.

Wow, I'm beyond shocked it's not even in the long range plans, but then again, it is IDOT. They're going to need to do something eventually. Did they even preserve any ROW just to the north of the ghost ramps along I-72? At one time, there was some grading, but it seems to have faded.
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Rick Powell

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Re: U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 10:57:16 PM »

I haven't heard anything to that effect.  IDOT District 5 does not have a lot on their plate now except for the re-do of the I-57/I-74 interchange.  You might check with the DUATS website, which is the transportation planning arm of the Decatur MPO.  http://www.ci.decatur.il.us/citygovernment/duats.htm

Looking there at Chapter 5 of their 2040 plan, I don't see any new road projects except starting a belt line on the eastern side of Decatur.  No activity that resembles a Forsyth bypass.

Wow, I'm beyond shocked it's not even in the long range plans, but then again, it is IDOT. They're going to need to do something eventually. Did they even preserve any ROW just to the north of the ghost ramps along I-72? At one time, there was some grading, but it seems to have faded.

Adam, when the MPO's don't have it in their long range plans, it's not necessarily a reflection on IDOT.  It's a reflection on local priorities for the next 3 decades, which are continually being updated and which typically are put through a decision making process of the MPO boards.  Neither Decatur nor B-N sees a need to do anything about US 51 around their metro areas, or they would have at least put it in their plans as a "fiscally unconstrained" project, meaning there is no current funding source but its on the wish list in case extra funding materializes.  If the locals don't want it (or it is so far down the list that it doesn't make the cut for publishing in the long range plan) it is hard for IDOT (or any state DOT) to make a case when there are so many others clamoring for attention.

There are occasional cases where the MPO doesn't want something and the state DOT does (example I-69 around Bloomington IN, which the MPO reluctantly added to their plan after being opposed for many years), but most of the time, they are generally on the same page.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2015, 11:00:23 PM by Rick Powell »
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I-39

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Re: U.S 51 improvements between Bloomington and Decatur?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2015, 09:50:41 AM »

I haven't heard anything to that effect.  IDOT District 5 does not have a lot on their plate now except for the re-do of the I-57/I-74 interchange.  You might check with the DUATS website, which is the transportation planning arm of the Decatur MPO.  http://www.ci.decatur.il.us/citygovernment/duats.htm

Looking there at Chapter 5 of their 2040 plan, I don't see any new road projects except starting a belt line on the eastern side of Decatur.  No activity that resembles a Forsyth bypass.

Wow, I'm beyond shocked it's not even in the long range plans, but then again, it is IDOT. They're going to need to do something eventually. Did they even preserve any ROW just to the north of the ghost ramps along I-72? At one time, there was some grading, but it seems to have faded.

Adam, when the MPO's don't have it in their long range plans, it's not necessarily a reflection on IDOT.  It's a reflection on local priorities for the next 3 decades, which are continually being updated and which typically are put through a decision making process of the MPO boards.  Neither Decatur nor B-N sees a need to do anything about US 51 around their metro areas, or they would have at least put it in their plans as a "fiscally unconstrained" project, meaning there is no current funding source but its on the wish list in case extra funding materializes.  If the locals don't want it (or it is so far down the list that it doesn't make the cut for publishing in the long range plan) it is hard for IDOT (or any state DOT) to make a case when there are so many others clamoring for attention.

There are occasional cases where the MPO doesn't want something and the state DOT does (example I-69 around Bloomington IN, which the MPO reluctantly added to their plan after being opposed for many years), but most of the time, they are generally on the same page.

You're right Rick. I guess what I am trying to get at is if they are attempting to improve U.S 51 as a major corridor for north-south traffic (i.e four lane U.S 51 to Centralia), then at some point, the stoplights at Forsyth (and the awkward cloverleaf where the existing U.S 51 merges in with I-72) could create a bottleneck if traffic increases (not saying it will happen, but it might at some point). After all, on the south side of Decatur, the U.S 51 bypass ties directly into the expressway heading south, so it is more of a smooth transition. It wouldn't be a bad idea to perverse some ROW for a bypass just in case, I am surprised it is not even on the radar as a "fiscally unconstrained" project. It would be more worthwhile than the proposed beltway.

But if the locals don't want it, then I guess there is nothing you can do about it, but we don't know if the locals want it or not because I don't believe something like this has ever been proposed (not counting the FAP 412 freeway planning in the 60s/70s).

And one thing I know locals don't want is the eastern Bloomington-Normal bypass, I have seen much more opposition to it then support, so I doubt it goes anywhere, but who knows?
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