The upcoming Route 3 improvement project will bring a few new traffic features to Waterloo, including a shared-use underpass for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Illinois Department of Transportation officials explained this underpass, to be located just north of Library Street, will allow walkers and bike riders using a newly constructed shared-use path to safely cross under Route 3 without the busy motor vehicle traffic typically seen along that roadway.
“At this location, we knew we had to link the Vandebrook subdivision to the path, which is on the west side of Route 3,” IDOT Location Studies Engineer Cindy Stafford explained. “We also needed to provide access to homes on the east side of Route 3 north of Library Street to the path.”
Studies indicated residents like to walk to Lakeview Park down from Library Street, Stafford added.
“So, we knew we wanted to get path users from both sides access to Library Street on the west side, as well,” she said. “There was no signalized intersection in that location for them to cross at, and Library Street did not meet the required warrants for traffic signals.”
The exact location of the underpass was chosen based on the lay of the land, drainage issues and other factors, Stafford said.
IDOT civil engineer Bo Wedmore said the proposed shared-use underpass in Waterloo will be similar to one recently installed under Route 157 in Glen Carbon.
The concrete box-shaped underpass will measure 10 feet high and 14 feet wide, Wedmore said. The entire underpass will measure 103 feet in length.
It will be 13 feet from the top of Route 3 to the floor of the shared-use path, he added.
While the shared-use path itself will only be 10 feet wide, the extra two feet on each side of the underpass is used to provide handlebar clearance, Wedmore said.
Other new features as part of the roadway improvement project include a roundabout just west of Route 3 on Park Street outside the Monroe County Farm Bureau office, as well as a stoplight at Illinois Avenue equipped with an emergency vehicle traffic light pre-emption system to allow safe passage of emergency vehicles.
The Monroe County ambulance garage is located at 901 Illinois Avenue.
The overall Route 3 project involves 4.3 miles of roadway from North Market Street to Vandebrook Drive. The current two-lane highway will be reconstructed into a four-lane thoroughfare, with turn lanes or flush medians added as required.
There will be a 10-foot-wide shared use path for walkers and bicyclists along this stretch.
Construction in phase one, which is expected to start this summer, includes the relocation of Vandebrook Drive to connect with South Market, as well as other project work north to near Library Street.
The proposed underpass is part of phase two, which will most likely get under way in the spring.
In 2009, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a $31 billion capital spending bill, providing funds for dozens of metro-east road projects, including this Route 3 project in Waterloo.