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Towns support alternative to Inman Parkway extension

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GINA R. HEINE
February 24, 2012
— An Interstate 90/39 access route around the north side of Beloit should use Philhower Road instead of extending Inman Parkway, officials in the two affected townships say.

Rock County is studying options to extend Inman Parkway to the east to connect with County S/Shopiere Road to provide quicker access to I-90/39.


But the Beloit and Turtle town boards are supporting an alternative plan that would send traffic a mile north to Philhower Road, then south on Creek Road, where a new bridge over Turtle Creek and road would connect with County S just south of the I-90/39 interchange.


On Monday, the Beloit Town Board approved a resolution Turtle previously approved opposing the expansion of Inman Parkway. The resolution supports the alternate route using Philhower Road.


"We all kind of agreed that that would be the best for everybody," Beloit Town Board Supervisor Phil Taber said.


His board is concerned that the Inman extension would bring too much additional traffic past two schools and into the residential neighborhood near Riverside Drive.


Rock County officials are meeting next week with engineers at Ayres Associations, the consulting business analyzing the options, to get feedback on what engineers are seeing so far, Public Works Director Ben Coopman said.


Ayres will present final recommendations in the coming months for review by the county board's public works committee, which will decide on a plan. The hope is to have a design picked by May, Coopman said.


The county board would get involved when budget requests for buying right-of-ways and construction are sought for approval.


Construction was planned for 2015, but it's "highly likely" it will move to 2014 so the project is done before the I-90/39 expansion begins in summer 2015, Coopman said.


The primary purposes of the project are to provide a more direct connection between I-90/39 and the north side of Beloit, and to improve emergency access to Beloit Memorial Hospital and nearby medical facilities, he said.


Turtle Township Chairman Roger Anclam said the "popular argument" for Inman is access to the hospital. He contends it would only take 30 to 40 more seconds using the Philhower route.


"We're looking at this from an overall standpoint for our town," he said.


The Philhower route is good for businesses and provides the best direct route, he said.


Turtle board members will be determining their next steps, which could include a presentation to the county board or public works committee, he said.


The towns' preferred option doesn't come out favorably, however, in preliminary reviews, Coopman said.


"If you build that road too far north, it doesn't divert any traffic," he said, because people aren't going to drive north and then south again.


The county is aware of the concerns from the towns, and officials are trying to be as evenhanded as they can, he said.


"We're also looking at this as a regional project with a benefit to many people. (There's) probably some negative impacts," he said. "The committee will have to weigh those options and see what they want to do."



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