Hennepin Looks at I-180 Reduction

The talk of reducing Interstate 180 from a four-lane expressway to a two-lane highway has caused concern for many area villages.

On Wednesday, Aug. 19, Hennepin Village Board President Kevin Coleman said he has talked with many people about the interstate, including Congressman Adam Kinzinger and State Rep. Frank Mautino. He said the local politicians were aware of the situation and working on the issue.

Coleman said reducing the interstate wouldn't just impact Putnam County but other surroundings counties, including Peoria, which uses the interstate as a quick route to Chicago.

"You're talking a couple hundred thousand people, if not more," he said. "And it will affect the Peoria area as well."

Hennepin village engineer Bill Shafer said he had spoken with an Illinois Department of Transportation representative who told him the Interstate reduction was in the preliminary stages. He said there's a lot of maintenance work that needs to be done on the interstate, particularly on the river bridge, and the government is short on funds and looking at all options.

"If they are going to do something as drastic as that, he said there would be public hearings," Shafer said of the IDOT representative. "The probability of it actually happening are pretty slim. There would be quite a bit of an initial cost to make that conversion."

Shafer said he didn't think it was something to get too excited about.

Village trustee Quentin Buffington said he also spoke with someone from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the representative told him the decision wouldn't happen quickly.

"It's basically just a feeler, and he said any plans would be 10 years out. He said there are projects scheduled for the next few years to maintain it. There's no concern for at least five to 10 years," Buffington said.

Ongoing improvement projects in the village

Shafer updated the village board about the upcoming storm sewer project. As reported last month, the village is having drainage and water flow issues in the area near Sixth and Locust streets. Shafer said the tentative bid date on the project is Monday, Sept. 14. After the bids come in, he will give a recommendation to the board at next month's meeting.

Shafer said a possible gas line may be in the area where the project will take place, and he was investigating it further to ensure plans did not interfere with the gas line. Ameren is being called in to locate the gas line.

Shafer also reported Judd Construction of Hennepin had given estimates to lay asphalt on two alleys in the village. The board approved the cost of $7,545 to asphalt both alleys. One alley is located near Cyr Financial, and the other alley is located near Mulberry Street.

Scarecrow contest coming again this September

The village will be taking over the scarecrow contest this year. Last year, the event was sponsored by the Hennepin United Methodist Church. The village approved the $150 cost to sponsor this year's event. Village trustee Matt Dean, who will be chairman of the event, said the cost for the contest goes toward advertising and trophies for those who participate. He said last year's event had about 20 participants and a lot of positive comments.

Source: Putnam County Record