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A Publication of WTVP

A good road system is critical to business success in any community or region. Robust road networks allow for the easy flow of people and goods. While the Peoria/Pekin area is equipped with access to a major navigable waterway, an above-average freight rail system, and competitive airport service, the region remains underserved with respect to the presence of four-lane highways connecting us with major midwestern population centers.

Without a strong and efficient transportation infrastructure, the overall business community is at a competitive disadvantage. Many regions with similar and smaller populations enjoy the benefits of significantly better highway service compared to the tri-county area. Addressing this deficiency is critical if we expect to successfully compete with other businesses and metropolitan areas in Illinois and the Midwest.

For over 10 years, the area Chambers of Commerce—Peoria, East Peoria, Pekin, Morton, Washington, and Chillicothe—have joined together to identify and advocate for critical road projects that have major regional implications. The outcome, a Regional Road Priorities list, is an essential component in our efforts to represent the transportation needs of the region. This list carries the collective weight and power of the businesses of all of our communities. Through this collaborative effort, we’re sending a clear message to our public elected officials of what our local business communities support.

In late June, representatives from these Chambers met with the state senators and representatives to update them on the status of the projects on the Regional Road Priorities list and share our common interest in each of these important projects. Some of these projects are very large while others are on a smaller scale, such as lane widening or route extension. The projects included on the Chambers Regional Road Priorities list are noted below.

Major Regional Projects
• Completion of the ring road around the metropolitan area.
• Diagonal interstate connection between Peoria and Chicago.
• 336 from Peoria to Macomb.
• I-74 reconstruction.
• Upgrade of Illinois Route 29 to connect with I-80.

Additional Regional Projects
• Upgrade and widening of Route 8 from East Peoria to Washington.
• Connection between Route 29 and I-474—the Veteran’s Drive Corridor.
• Improvement on Route 40 from Cedar Hills to Route 6.
• U.S. 150 improvements from Orange Prairie to Kickapoo/
Edwards Road.
• Airport road improvements from Tuscarora Road to Rt. 24/9 intersection.
• Widening of Route 9 in Pekin to I-155.
• Pioneer Parkway extension to Illinois 91.
• Study of our need for an I-74 interchange between Morton and Washington.
• Technology Boulevard and Heritage Drive alignment in East Peoria.

Because of the interdependence of all the communities within the tri-county area, our Chamber leaders have collectively determined that completion of the ring road around the metropolitan area (a project that was started with I-474) is the No. 1 transportation priority for the business community. This project includes a river crossing in the Mossville area. Later this summer, the area Chambers will meet with IDOT Secretary of Transportation Tim Martin to share our list with him.

It’s widely accepted that communities successful in attracting state and federal dollars for road projects are the communities that are organized and speak with one voice. The Heartland Partnership and Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce are committed to representing the best interests of this region and the businesses within it, and we’ll continue fostering collaboration and a unified voice among our regional chambers. For more information on these projects and a map go to www.peoriachamber.org/goto/37. IBI

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