Beloit again considers bypass

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Friday, November 16, 2007
— After 10 years, Beloit Township residents thought the project had gone by the wayside.

But this summer, plans popped up again for a bypass around the city of Beloit.

Since the 1980s, Wisconsin and Illinois transportation departments have been looking at cutting a four-lane bypass from Interstate 90/39 in South Beloit to Highway 213 northwest of Beloit.

The road would meet up with Highway 213 at County Q in Beloit Township and allow trucks to drive west without using Highway 81 through downtown Beloit.

A grassroots group called Save Our Streets, comprising Beloit residents, supported the project in the late 1980s. But some town of Beloit residents say truck traffic isn’t what it was in Beloit 10 years ago, and the project should be canned.

“We feel the initial rationale has for the most part disappeared,” said town resident Dave Sterna. “At this point, we want a decision. Do Wisconsin and Illinois want to do it or get it off the books?”

The Wisconsin DOT recently completed a traffic count on Highway 213 south of County Q but has not finished compiling the results, said Wisconsin DOT spokesman Gary Sassman. The results have been forwarded to the Illinois DOT for study.

The Illinois DOT recently finished an environmental impact study on the project, so it could be a year before the departments are ready to make a decision, Sassman said.

City of Beloit Public Works Director Dave Botts thinks the bypass would benefit Beloit.

“The original concept was to provide a route for trucks and traffic to be able to get around (the city) easier,” Botts said. “I think it will provide additional access around on the west side.”

But town of Beloit residents aren’t interested in seeing that part of Beloit grow.

“We’re on the west side of Beloit because it’s more quiet, more rural,” Sterna said. “We would advocate that they build up the east side and leave the west side alone.”

A farm owned by Phyllis and Roger Merlet on Spring Creek Road just off of Highway 213 would be one of several affected if the bypass were approved.

The Illinois DOT has given the Merlets maps of two potential routes for the bypass. Each of the routes runs over the top of one of the Merlets’ two irrigator pivots, leaving them useless, Phyllis said.

“If they take and build this, we’re out of business.”

Bypass study

The Wisconsin and Illinois transportation departments are looking at traffic numbers on Highway 213 to study the feasibility of a bypass around Beloit.

The road would slice up from the Interstate in South Beloit, Ill., and around Beloit’s west side to meet Highway 213 at County Q in Beloit Township.

One group of town of Beloit residents is opposed to the plan. It shares its opinions online at www.beloitbypass.com.

Last updated: 10:49 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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