Residents attend IDOT open house

Marianne Gillespie
Caution: About 8,100 vehicles travel through the viaduct each day at the north end of Chillicothe.

More than 1,000 signatures of residents wanting the viaduct on the city’s north side upgraded were delivered to an open house Thursday evening.

A group of Chillicotheans also voiced their support for the change at the Illinois Department of Transportation’s District Four Headquarters in downtown Peoria.

“If attendance counts, we certainly got the prize for that,” said Mike Krost, chairman of the Chillicothe Viaduct Safety Intiative, a grassroots group spearheaded by the Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce.

The public forum gave leaders and residents a chance to talk to IDOT officials about why they want this project funded. It currently is listed as a project for 2035.

For years, both residents and officials have complained about the viaduct, which is owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, and goes over Illinois Route 29, for its narrow lanes and safety.

Illinois Valley Central District 321 school buses avoid the area when possible.

Chillicothe’s state officials also lent their vocal support Thursday, including state Sen. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) and Rep. David Leitch (R-Peoria).

Other businesses and government entities have approved resolutions of support in an overhaul.

Residents now may contact the Chillicothe Chamber of Commerce at 274-4556 for a copy of the comments form, which residents may write in their own words about the viaduct.

The comments are then forwarded on to IDOT in Springfield, Krost said.