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34 closing through Galesburg

April 20, 2018

Photo from The Register-Mail

Beginning this month, one of the main roads that Monmouth residents and students drive closed all four of its lanes. U.S. Route 34 that runs between Monmouth and Galesburg began construction on April 16, and the project is expected to be finished in early October. The 14 mile stretch of road will be undergoing repairs in order to fix some of the very noticeable problems that are currently affecting drivers, and will hopefully make the road safer overall.

This construction will likely affect the travel of students and parents as school winds down and individuals begin to travel home for the summer. As 34 runs through Galesburg, it also connects students to Interstate 74, another popular highway. Along with this, the construction will also include the closure of entrances to Cameron Road on Rt 34.

According to a spokeswoman from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the department was originally planning on leaving one lane of the highway open, but later decided that closing all four lanes would be more efficient and safer for the construction as a whole. The spokeswoman, Kelsea Gurski, explained “safety was also a strong consideration with this project. The way we would have had to configure traffic to go through this work zone (should we have kept it open) was causing some safety concerns as we looked at the design.” Along with this, Gurski also said that if the department were to keep one lane open, it would spread the project into two construction seasons instead of just the current season.

A news release from IDOT explains that the road closure begins at “Illinois 164 east of Monmouth to Main Street in Galesburg beginning Monday, April 16, through October for construction.” The department also said that all traffic will be redirected onto Illinois 164. Along with this, the release states that the main repairs being made to the road will include “bridge repair, drainage improvements, pavement patching and resurfacing.”

The construction occurring on this road comes at a time when many are traveling the highway to attending commencement ceremonies or travel for summer break. It can also affect individual’s commute to work or other places. As Hannah Snyder, a sophomore Monmouth student explained, the detour may be a little out of the way for students who are travelling home, but having driven the detour previously, she added “it takes only about 10 extra minutes.”

Other Monmouth students are worried about the added time the construction could cause, whether it ends up being a few minutes or more than that. Sam Brosend, also a sophomore, works as a photographer and travels on the weekends for photo shoots. When she heard about the road closure, she was concerned about how the added travel time that may begin to affect her work. Having plans to travel to areas like Peoria where she relies on 34 to get to the city, she explained, “it seems like it will be very inconvenient, especially for people who travel fairly often.”

Kaelin Sommer
News Editor

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