Construction on IL-13 expected to draw business expansion

Route 13 road works project

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The work near the intersection at IL-13 and Division Street in Carterville is nearing completion, but once it wraps up you can expect more IL-13 construction somewhere else.

"It was a mess when we opened here," said Tequillas Bookkeeper Pamela Ruiz. "There was a lot of construction, and there were still two lanes on each side of the highway instead of three."

"It's kind of frustrating sometimes," said John A. Logan College student Kiarha Wilce on Monday. "Some construction delay always pops up, especially when I'm in a hurry it seems like."

In an effort to handle fast-growing volume of travelers along IL-13, the Illinois Department of Transportation has invested in several major interchanges.

"We have to keep up with expansion," explained IDOT engineer Doug Helfrich. "A lot of businesses and commerce are between these counties."

Some notable projects are the rail overpass in Marion, the replacement of an aging bridge in Murphysboro, and most recently; work near Carterville.

"Well IL-13 is a major corridor in this area," Helfrich explained. "One of the busiest non-interstate routes we have. Eventually, each intersection will be a little more efficient than it was in the past."

Tequillas Mexican Restaurant in Carterville opened up in 2014 amid heavy construction on frontage roads nearby.

A frontage road is a secondary road that runs along a major highway to minimize entrances and exits onto the main road.

"It was slow when we first opened mainly because of the construction," Ruiz explained, " but I can tell, just because the constructions starting to wrap up, business has been better."

"If you're lacking in what your roadways can handle, new businesses aren't going to be attracted to the area," said Helfrich.

Several new commercially zoned lots were created by the recent expansion of frontage roads near Division St.; and the Carterville Chamber of Commerce said a bank is expected to open nearby.

Despite being about 6 percent over-budget, the project at Division and IL-13 will be completed by November's end.

Work has already begun on an overpass which will extend over IL-13 roughly two miles east of Division at Wolf Creek road.

Helfrich expects that project to last up to two years.

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