MORRISON, Illinois -
The Illinois Department of Transportation will discuss plans to drop a nearly $500-million improvement project on U.S. Route 30 between Fulton and Rock Falls.
The Open House takes place on Thursday, March 16, 2017. It will be from 4-7 p.m., at the Odell Public Library, 307 S. Madison Street, in Morrison.
Talk about expanding to four-lanes dates back decades, but now the project is on hold.
It comes as a blow for a region looking to boost economic development.
"It would be a great economic development tool and another option for many of the truck routes," said Rock Falls Mayor Bill Wescott.
But the project would also bypass Morrison and divert traffic away from businesses like Kunes Country Auto Group.
"It's probably a good thing for us since we sit right on Route 30," said General Manager Bill Bart. "A lot of our traffic comes from that, so we're very pleased."
IDOT says that nearly two-thirds of residents near Morrison oppose the project.
The agency also blames a decline in traffic that makes expanding to four lanes unnecessary.
Add in the ever-growing pricetag, with uncertain state and federal funding, and that finished it off.
"The city has between 18-20 businesses on Route 30," said Morrison Mayor Everett Pannier. "All of which see some of their income coming from drive-by."
The longtime car dealership will remain on Route 30 and visible to drive-up customers. Traffic that inspires plenty of sales in Morrison.
"It's just one of those things," Bart said. "Access for us, if there would have been a bypass, would have been tough."
IDOT will talk about ideas for other less-costly road repairs on Thursday. But for now, the big project remains stalled.