City Rethinking Busy North Peoria Intersection

A chronically congested intersection on Peoria's north side may soon get a facelift. 

Around 60 people attended a public hearing Thursday night to learn more about plans to improve Alta Road and Allen Road. The intersection is currently a four way stop, and is often the site of long delays, especially when the large congregation of nearby Northwoods Community Church disperses. 

The city is looking at three options right now: install stop lights, put in a roundabout, or do nothing.

"Our goal is to just boil it down and bring it back to council with what we heard from the folks," said city engineer Scott Reeise.

Much of the conversation at the hearing centered on the idea of installing a roundabout. While few were against the idea, many wanted to know why the city proposed putting in a roundabout with only one lane. Several speakers mentioned the fact that roundabouts in Europe have at least two lanes to create better traffic flow. 

Reeise said he would look into that alternative, but it would add to the cost of installing a roundabout, which is currently estimated to be $2.8 million. If the city opts to put up stop lights at the intersection, it would cost $2.9 million. A portion of the cost would be covered by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Neither of those estimates include labor or upkeep. 

The work, if approved, will go hand-in-hand with another project IDOT is working on just south of Allen and Alta Road. The state announced on Thursday that it has taken $12.3 million out of the Illinois Jobs Now! construction program to put towards, in part, redesigning the intersection of Allen Road and Alta Lane. 

Crews will straighten the curve out, and turn it into a "T" intersection. They will also dig a tunnel underneath the street for bicycles and pedestrians. The project will have a section of Allen Road shut down for several months next year, and the city plans to take advantage of the situation.

"Our goal is, when that's closed, to do something to [Allen Road and Alta Road], too, so we don't have to disrupt people for another year," Reeise said. 

The shutdown is slated to run from April to Thanksgiving 2015. The City Council will ultimately decide whether the Allen Road and Alta Road project moves forward. Reeise said the city is taking suggestions from residents on its website, and will likely hold another public hearing before anything is decided. 

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