Residents question roadway projects
JANESVILLE Three construction projects could open vehicular access through Rock County as well as through the north side of Beloit starting in 2014.
But residents and at least one municipality are questioning the site of new construction and how it will affect schools, businesses and neighborhoods.
Rock County Public Works Director Ben Coopman on Thursday presented information to the Rock County Board about the possibility of improving County G between Huebbe Parkway in Beloit and the Highway 11 bypass on Janesville’s south side
County G is Beloit Avenue in Janesville and Prairie Avenue in Beloit. Between 11,100 and 11,900 vehicles travel on segments of the highway daily, according to Rock County data.
The County G “mega project,” as Coopman called it, would coincide with two other projects. The first is a planned expansion of Interstate 90/39 between the Illinois state line and Madison. An improved County G could handle increased traffic in the event of detours during the expansion, Coopman said. In the future, the road could handle traffic if I-90/39 were closed because of a crash or bad weather.
The third project is the construction of a new spur west from I-90/39 to Highway 51 in Beloit Township. The project is often referred to as the Inman Parkway project because of the state’s interest in building a new road that would connect to Inman Parkway at Prairie Avenue. It would improve access from Beloit’s west side to the Interstate, Coopman said.
Some residents as well as town of Beloit and Beloit Turner School District officials have opposed the plan because of the possibility of increased traffic in front of the Turner Middle/High School building and a nearby residential neighborhood.
Some have suggested Philhower Road would be better suited as a connector.
No money has been secured for the connector project.
Three people spoke before Thursday’s informational session. Owners of businesses including Don’s Lawn and Garden and Mid-City Self-Storage, both located on County G, asked that the county consider their situations when planning for construction.
Nicole Yoss, who owns the storage company and lives on County G, said she is concerned about how long construction will take and how access will be provided for businesses. She thinks improvements are needed to reduce accidents, she said.
Dan Hartung of Janesville asked officials to consider bicycle access on County G.
County G is not in immediate need of repairs, but it will be eventually, Coopman said. By partnering with the state to improve County G to support I-90/39, the county could save a lot of money. It would cost the county about $1 million per mile to improve the 5.75-mile stretch.
IN OTHER NEWS
Rock County Board Chairman Russ Podzilni on Thursday announced that board member Jane Thompson will resign from her position on the board. Thompson is moving out of the area to care for her parents, Podzilni said. Thompson, who lives in Janesville, was elected in 2004. She was re-elected without opposition this month. She represents the far northeastern part of Janesville as well as the western part of Harmony Township. She serves on the board of health and the Arrowhead Library System Board.