Construction headaches are about to get worse for people who use Interstate 90 and the State Street exit. As drivers get ready for the extra hassle some area businesses worry about what it will mean for them.
"For us specifically and it being such a large corridor of Rockford it's huge. We have tournaments that come in this time of year during Friday, Saturday and Sunday during weekend season," says Michael Daugherty, Rock Hospitality.
Daugherty is part of Rock Hospitality, a group owns three hotels right off state and I-90, the Holiday Inn, the Baymont Inn and Suites and the Staybridge Suites. Bookings are extremely important right now because Daugherty says business has been down. He thinks it will only get worse especially for walk-in business which can be anywhere from 20 to 50 rooms a night.
"People who are coming off the interstate because maybe some type of weather system might come through and direct them off the interstate. They aren't going to get directly off they are going to have to jog themselves around. If they don't know the area they might very well not stop here," says Daugherty.
The Illinois Department of Transportation plans to close the eastbound I-90 ramp that carries traffic from Wisconsin to Chicago. A detour will direct drivers to exit on Harrison Ave then use Perryville to get back to State. Van Galder which drives buses between Rockford and the Chicago airports plus the Windy City has already been dealing with the construction.
"When you are looking at you just want to make an allowance for the travel time, the additional travel time on the bus or anyway you get to O'Hare or Chicago for that matter," says Allen Fugate, Van Galder Operations Manager.
Van Galder hopes to see more people choose the bus to avoid driving the construction themselves. Rock Hospitality just hopes any hotel guest understands and still chooses to come back to Rockford.
"This was another big hiccup, something that we will get past but that's the biggest thing the longevity of the project," says Daugherty.
The eastbound ramp is set to close next week, September 16th and will remain shut down for six weeks. The west bound ramp should stay open.
Exit and entrance ramps for eastbound I-90 to U.S. Route 20/State Street will close for six weeks to allow for continued construction on the interstate.
The Illinois Tollway will rebuild all four of the ramps starting the week of September 16. The closure will affect the two ramps carrying eastbound I-90 traffic from Wisconsin and to Chicago. The ramps carrying westbound traffic from Chicago and to Wisconsin will stay open.
The ramps must be fully closed because they're too narrow to allow for traffic and construction at the same time. A detour will be in place:
There is construction being done on the westbound ramps, but they will stay open and traffic shifts and shoulders will be utilized to keep as many lanes open as possible.
Around 7,000 vehicles use the ramps daily. For more information on the project and updates, visit www.illinoistollway.com.
You can see a map of the detour by clicking the link to the left of this story.
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