Route 3 work picking back up this spring

Work on the Route 3 improvement project that was slowed by winter re-emerged last week in Waterloo with the nice spring weather. Pictured on Friday, concrete finisher Mike Evans of New Athens works on curbing around a traffic sign pole at the intersection of Route 3 and South Market Street.(Alan Dooley photo)

Work is expected to ramp up significantly on the Route 3 improvement project in Waterloo over the next couple of months as temperatures begin to rise.

“Within the next month to month and a half, you’ll start to see some changes out there,” said Matt Rodewald, project manager for Illinois Excavators, which is performing the work.

Work on phase one of improvements — the relocation of Vandebrook Drive to connect with South Market Street and other work at the southern end — slowed for winter, but the project remains on schedule.

Rodewald said that in a couple of weeks, workers will begin shifting traffic to the east side of the roadway to begin dirt work, widening and eventually paving of the west side of Route 3 from just south of North Market to South Market. There will still be two lanes of traffic for drivers, Rodewald said, as the existing shoulder will be used as one of the makeshift lanes.

Message boards will be installed advising motorists of the lane shifts, which will remain in effect most of the rest of the year, Rodewald said.

Paving of the new Vandebrook Drive will also pick back up in early May, Rodewald said. Workers are currently building up the intersection with South Market.

Workers have until the end of 2014 to complete phase one of the Route 3 improvements, but Rodewald said they may be done by summer. The previously used roadway leading to Vandebrook will be closed off as part of the project.

As for the much larger phase two portion — which involves the remaining section of roadway from just north of Library Street to North Market — scheduled completion is not until 2016.

In total, the Route 3 improvement project involves 4.3 miles of roadway from North Market to South Market, plus the relocation of Vandebrook Drive. The current two-lane highway will be reconstructed into a four-lane thoroughfare, with turn lanes or flush medians added as required.

Other features include a roundabout just west of Route 3 on Park Street near the Monroe County Farm Bureau office, a stoplight at Illinois Avenue and a 10-foot-wide shared use path for walkers and bicyclists near Library Street.

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