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Long-awaited Western Avenue road reconstruction set to begin next spring

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PEORIA (WEEK) -It's been years in the making but Tuesday night the Peoria City Council gave a huge road project the green light. 

Construction on Western Avenue will happen in the spring of 2021. 

Councilwoman Denise Moore wouldn't even call them a sidewalk because you can't use it for it's basic purpose...walking.  

"If you can imagine being either in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller and you come across this you're going to come across a bumpy road in the first place," says Denise Moore. 

Moore says those with wheelchairs, walkers and strollers are prevalent in this area. 

"She's on a walker and if she were to come down here she couldn't get past the sidewalk. She would have come across this street, on a bumpy street not ADA compliant and then come to the side walk...she would be stopped at the sidewalk. And it's unacceptable," says Moore.  

Moore says it's not just those living here that have to deal with these streets. Businesses and the potential for economic growth are also being halted. 

"It's no wonder why we're losing businesses to this area," says Moore.  

At 309 Auto Sales, along Western Avenue, owner Mike Williams believes that the new, open sidewalks, street lights, bike lanes and other new features will not only help his business but bring  new ones here as well.  

"It'll attract more business and investors to the south side of Peoria so I think it'll be a good thing. As you can see we really don't have an adequate sidewalk outside my business so it's much needed," says Mike Williams. 

Moore tells says that, over the past eight months engineers have been building a plan, so they'll be on target to start construction in the spring.   

"We hear a lot today about racial inequality, and you look at this area and you say yes; we are not being treated the same because we don't have a similar quality of life. And all it takes are people concerned about the community saying enough is enough and that is what's happening on the south side."  

Moore says they will be adding bike and turning lanes to slow down traffic, as two people have been killed due to speeding on that street.  

This project costs about $12 million.  

Trisha Christakes

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