Moffitt Overpass bridges the gap in Galesburg

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Galesburg is proud to be a town of trains. They're important to transportation and trade.

"You can't get around," said Heather Dickson, Galesburg.

But as trains crossed Main Street, it forced more than 9,000 drivers to wait each day.

"Sometimes the trains block you both ways," she added. "You spend a lot of time waiting."

That's why Illinois Governor Pat Quinn dedicated a bridge on Friday morning along West Main Street. They're naming the $16.1 million overpass for longtime State Representative Don Moffitt.

"We don't mind being interrupted by trains," said Rep. Moffitt. "We call that jobs, commerce. We're glad they're here, aren't we?"

This Main Street connection is the first of three projects. It will speed traffic flow and improve safety while bridging the future.

"It will just be great," said Galesburg driver Jan Lytle. "It's just beautiful."

The overpass could be a role model for Illinois projects. In an era of partisan politics, it got support from both sides of the aisle.

"There's no such thing as Republican roads or Democratic roads," Gov. Quinn said. "They're American roads."

With funding from the Illinois Jobs Now Program, plus federal and BNSF railroad support, it's a symbol of a community emerging from challenges.

"This is one less train we're going to get caught by and still have a robust railroad industry," said Galesburg driver Dave Dunn.

While that welcome rumble remains, it will be easier for drivers to get by.

"I want to be one of the first ones," Dunn concluded. "I'm excited about it."

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