Outer Belt West improvements nearing completion

The Outer Belt West sidewalk and lighting project is expected to be completed in October.

EFFNGHAM — The Illinois Jobs Now Grant funded safety and other improvements along Outer Belt West with a wide sidewalk and lights that are expected to enhance the area for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The project includes new concrete entrances, a connecting 10-foot-wide sidewalk from Keller Drive to the EPC, Street lights and erosion control improvements.

The project — well underway — is expected to be completed in October and paid for by the grant at the cost of $678,000. The last phase of roadwork on Outer Belt West was completed in 2011 at a cost of $1.97 million, also funded by this Illinois Jobs Now Grant.

The grant was awarded to the city in 2010 for the construction of the final section of Outer Belt West, from Avenue of Mid-America to Keller Drive. It was a part of the six-year capital bill program that paid 100 percent of the project.

City officials had to wait to use the remaining limited funds from the initial project, because they had to meet certain criteria. The funds were finally allocated and approved in 2018 by the Illinois Department of Transportation, allowing the city to proceed with the sidewalks, fence and lighting project.

“The project enhances the surrounding properties by providing entrances for future developments,” said Effingham Director of Public Works Jeremy Heuerman. “It also connects the TREC Trail network to Keller Drive, which gains access to numerous restaurants, retail shopping and other services. The new lighting provides additional safety for vehicles and pedestrians through this corridor.”

Heuerman said the city continues to see growth along Outer Belt West with more traffic and new and expanding businesses. It is a direct link from U.S. Route 40 to Illinois Route 32/33 (Keller Drive), without having to travel through several stop lights and traffic congestion.

Yet to be completed is the fence for safety along the sidewalk, seeding for grass, sidewalk ramps and finally pedestrian push buttons at the intersection of Keller Drive and Outer Belt West.

Dawn Schabbing can be reached at dawn.schabbing@effinghamdailynews.com or 217-347-7151, ext 138.


Dawn Schabbing is a senior reporter at the Effingham Daily News, covering Effingham City Hall, Unit 40, and special projects. A graduate of Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University with degrees in journalism, she lives in Neoga.

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