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Alton-Godfrey Transportation Study
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FAQs

What is this project?
The project is a study of the transportation network in Alton and Godfrey bounded by the following area: Seiler Road on the north; Godfrey Road (US Route 67/ IL Route 111) on the west; Homer Adams Parkway (IL Route 3/IL Route 111) on the south (including the triangular area south of Route 3/111 and bounded by US Route 67 and Alton Square Mall Drive); and Seminary Road on the east.

Why is IDOT conducting this project?
The purpose of this project is to identify options that could improve transportation mobility and safety in the area, and address the issue of improved connectivity and continuity between IL Route 255 and the area around IL Route 3 (Homer Adams Parkway) and US Route 67 (MLK Boulevard).

What is the history of this project?
IDOT conducted a Feasibility Study in 2011 to determine if the opening of IL Route 255 would result in problems in traffic flow (i.e. traffic increases) on the adjacent local road system. This was an internal scoping study to determine if further study was warranted. The study concluded that several transportation issues do exist and recommended further study. In addition to the Feasibility Study, the Village of Godfrey has adopted a land use plan that includes an extension of North Alby Street from Humbert Road to IL Route 255. This plan can be found at: http://godfreyil.org/media/pdf/Map_7.pdf.

How is this study different from the Feasibility Study?
The intent of the Feasibility Study was to determine if there are transportation problems as a result of opening of IL Route 255 that warrant further study. The intent of the current study is to further define the transportation problems that exist within the study area and investigate alternatives that address the issues while minimizing environmental impacts to the study area. The current study includes the highest level of public involvement available. The public is engaged throughout the study in an information sharing process that helps ensure that the attributes, values, and desires of the area are taken into consideration as the study progresses.

How was it determined that funding should be spent on this project, and how much will it cost?
The results of the feasibility study indicate that transportation issues exist related to the opening of IL Route 255 that warrant further study. Based on this, the state legislature determined that money should be allocated to the study of this project and a budget of $10 million was included in the Governor’s FY 2013-2018 Proposed Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program for engineering. The engineering includes preliminary engineering, the Location and Environmental Study (Phase I), and Design Phase (Phase II) which includes the development of construction plans. There is a $110 million budget included for construction. The funding for this project will likely be a mix of federal and state funds.

Since you have funding for the project, does that mean it’s going to be built?
The exact nature of what, if anything, is to be built is not yet known. More study still needs to be conducted to determine the range of possible transportation alternatives. These alternatives will then be reviewed by federal and state agencies and the public, and then evaluated against a range of factors such as environmental impacts; social and economic impacts; traffic and safety benefits; and cost. This evaluation will help the study team determine an alternative that best meets the objectives of the study while minimizing environmental, social and economic impacts. One possible outcome of the study is the recommendation that no new infrastructure be constructed due to excessive impacts, cost, or both.

How long will this study last?
The Location and Environment Study includes preliminary engineering and an environmental impact study and will last approximately 42 to 48 months. The design of contract plans for construction will last approximately 12 to 18 months.

What is the purpose and process of this study?
The purpose of the study is to first determine the transportation needs within the study area. These needs could involve: reducing congestion; improving safety; providing better connectivity; planning for anticipated future growth; or some combination of these. After the needs are developed and understood, the study will then determine the transportation alternative (or alternatives) that best meet the needs in the most cost-effective manner.

What happens at the end of the study?
The Location and Environment Study will conclude upon the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) approval of the preferred alternative and the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If FHWA is agreeable to the alternative(s) chosen and that all environmental issues have been properly identified, and all impacts have been quantified and documented, then the project can move forward to the design phase, or Phase II.

When will construction begin?
The earliest that construction could begin is six to eight years from now, provided that the results of the study show that transportation improvements are needed in the study area.

Why do we need another road?
At this point in the study, IDOT doesn’t know if another road is necessary. The results of the feasibility study and the work performed thus far in this study support the fact that it is worthy of consideration. It is possible that improvements to the existing road network may address the project needs. In any case, the need for another road, or improvements to the existing network, will have to take into consideration the changes in travel patterns brought on by the completion of IL Route 255 to US Route 67 in Godfrey. The connectivity from this new highway to the existing road network (particularly the north-south traffic flow) needs to be clearly understood so that IDOT can plan to meet future needs as they develop.

What kind of road will this be?
If a new road is found to be needed, the type of road, whether it is a two-lane local road or a five-lane major road, will be determined further in the study. The road type will be based on traffic volume and functionality. A road’s function is determined by two criteria: 1) whether the road is intended to move vehicles more efficiently; or 2) to provide better access to adjacent land uses. The project stakeholders and the public will have input in determining what type of road would best fit the context of the community at-large.

How many lanes will the road have?
See above.

How will this project affect or improve traffic congestion and safety?
The type and location of an alternative determines the level of improvement to traffic congestion and safety. Presently, the specific improvements are not known.

How much property will IDOT purchase? Will it affect any homes or businesses?
The amount of Right-Of-Way (ROW) that might be needed for transportation improvements has not yet been determined. This will be better understood when alternatives are developed with input from the public and measured against the existing residential and commercial land uses in the study area. However, one goal of the project is to minimize impacts to the residential and commercial land uses where possible.

What will be done to minimize environmental impacts?
As the study team begins to better understand the project needs and to develop project alternatives, they will carefully develop alternatives in consideration of all known environmental resources in the study area. If it is possible to avoid an environmental resource, such as a wetland or a historic property, while also meeting the stated needs and objectives of the project, then the study team will do so. If environmental impacts cannot be avoided, then the study team will attempt to minimize the impact to the environmental resource where possible.

Does the public get a chance to comment on the alternatives being developed or which alternatives are selected for moving forward? If so, how?
The public will be given several opportunities to comment on the alternatives developed by the study team and to provide their opinion on what alternative(s) should be considered for further study. This will be done through various means such as open house public meetings, the project website, and written letters or emails to the IDOT study team. Each comment will be included in a database of public comments and will be reviewed and addressed accordingly.

How and where will this project tie into IL Route 255 and other roads in the study area?
It is not yet known how and where this project will tie into IL Route 255 or any of the other roads in the study area. The project team will study the best location for these connections by evaluating each alternative against a range of criteria including:

  • Ability to address traffic and safety needs

  • Potential to attract new development to the study area

  • Level of environmental, social and economic impact

  • Constructability

  • Cost

Who decided IDOT would do this project? Who got the funding for this project?
IDOT initiated this project based on an understanding that the opening of IL Route 255 and future commercial development would result in problems in traffic flow (i.e. traffic increases) on the adjacent local road system. Then IDOT went through standard protocol to request that the study and construction be funded in the Governor’s FY 2013-2018 Proposed Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program.

If a new corridor is developed, what will become of the existing highway(s)?
Should a new road be built, decisions on how existing roadway systems will be affected will be coordinated with local governments.

Will this project result in changes to how local businesses and neighborhoods are accessed?
It is a possibility. However, if changes in access do occur, the changes will be coordinated with those affected and will be the responsibility of the project team to ensure that access is addressed in each instance.

Will existing roadways such as US Route 67, North Alby Street, and Seminary Road be widened?
The widening of existing roadways is something that will be investigated during the study. Many variables including cost, impacts, and system continuity will be used to determine the final solution.

Who can I contact to provide my comments?
There are numerous ways to provide comments on the project:
Phone: 618-346-3157 (Karen Geldert, IDOT)
Email: Karen.Geldert@illinois.gov
Web: www.il.dot.gov/altongodfrey/home.html
Additional opportunities to receive project information and provide comments will include newsletters, small group meetings, and future public informational meetings.

Is there a website to go to for more information?
See above.

Why did you have a Public Informational Meeting so early in the process?
This project is in the early stages of its development. It is important to IDOT to receive public input on what are the community’s priorities and what they perceive as problems as well as potential solutions to those problems.

The Location and Environmental Study (Phase I) undertakes a public involvement effort to include the public’s input for project considerations. IDOT has elected to utilize its Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) guidelines for this project. IDOT uses these guidelines to work with stakeholders to develop transportation solutions that fit into the project’s surroundings or its “context”. Based on what community members from Alton and Godfrey have already communicated to IDOT, context on this project includes issues such as traffic congestion from home to work, suburban sprawl, preservation of scenic landscapes and historic neighborhoods, and the ability to use the transportation system to walk, bike, and access public transit are high priorities in terms of what people expect from transportation policy.

Will there be other public meetings?
Yes, there will be other public informational meetings, small group meetings, and stakeholder meetings. IDOT plans to keep the public informed throughout the project and to provide multiple opportunities to provide input. When a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement is ready for public viewing, a Public Hearing will be held to present the findings of the study and the preferred alternative.

What will happen to my property values?
Property values are affected by a number of market factors. In general, an improved roadway facility can have a positive impact on property, however, it is impossible at this phase of the project for anyone to predict the impact to a specific property.
Contact: Mike Myler – Land Acquisition Manager
Phone: 618-346-3120
Email: Michael.Myler@illinois.gov

What will happen to my property taxes?
Property taxes are assessed by the County Assessor’s office. IDOT does not control or have any influence on property taxes.

When will IDOT begin acquiring right of way?
Assuming the outcome of the study is to construct a transportation improvement, the earliest that right of way acquisitions could begin is approximately five years from now. Mike Myler at IDOT may be contacted for property questions.

Will IDOT be using Eminent Domain to take property?
Even though alternatives for this improvement have not yet been identified, it is probable that right of way could be required for this project. If right of way is required, IDOT will appraise the required parcels and try to negotiate a settlement with property owners. If an agreement cannot be reached with property owners, IDOT has the authority to use eminent domain for public projects. Eminent domain is a process which allows IDOT to acquire the needed property for the improvement and the court system ensures that property owners receive fair compensation for their property. Mike Myler at IDOT may be contacted for property questions.

I’ve seen surveyors in the study area. What are they doing?
Periodically throughout this project, there will be field personnel out studying varied environmental resources in support of preparing the Environmental Impact Statement. This could include research of wetlands, streams, habitats of threatened and endangered species of plants or animals, cultural resources (i.e. archeological sites, historic properties), bridges and culverts, road pavements, and traffic. Personnel may use wood stakes to mark an area for field study. The field personnel will attempt to communicate with private property owners the fact that surveys are being performed. Field personnel will ring the door bell of private properties that they need to enter to complete surveys. This letter will be hand-delivered to property owners or left attached to the front door if not answered before entrance onto private property.

 

 
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