The massive two-year I-57/IL Rt 13 interchange project in Marion that isn't supposed to be finished until next year may open fully finished before the end of 2013, according to Mayor Robert L. Butler.
Learned a few other updates from him yesterday about Marion developments. Nothing new on the STAR Bonds project, based on past conversations with him and state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, the would-be developers looking to step into Bruce Holland's shoes are waiting for the road projects to be completed.
Last year's drought helped the construction of the new rebuild of the Exit 54 interchange, but the mayor's still waiting for construction to begin on the connections and upgrade of the Morgan Avenue interchange. The additional overpass is up, but remains unconnected with Morgan Avenue.
Crews have finally begun earthwork on the new access road off of the south side of Morgan and on the west side of the interstate that will provide access to the north end of the old Holiday Inn/Executive Inn hotel and the mobile home sales lot at the southwest corner of Morgan and I-57. Due to restrictions on entrances too close to the interchange IDOT purchase access rights from the property owners and agreed to build the new access road. One thing different from the original design, the road will not hit Morgan opposite the Holiday Inn Express entrance, but a bit to the east.
Meanwhile work continues on the six-lane expansion of Route 13 from I-57 east to Court Street, the new overpass of the Burlington Northern on Route 13 by the Illinois Centre Mall (I'll add the "Star" to the name when the new owners get around to actually changing their signage). Once traffic can be redirected onto the new overpass and the area around Skyline Drive and the new extension of Walton Way is finished, that new road will be opened.
On the jobs front the owners of the former Circuit City building are hot on one or two tenants for giant warehouse and distribution center on the west side of town. If successful it could mean around 300 jobs.