Short Term Pain for Long Term Gain: Road Project Will Provide Safer Passage for Bicyclists, Pedestrians and Motorists
The first concrete steps to improved connectivity and safety at one of the main access points to the Research Park will start on March 15.
St. Mary’s Road between Oak Street and Neil Street will be closed to traffic for up to five months to complete construction to ensure safer passage for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians at that intersection and corresponding viaduct under the railroad tracks.
This means that motorists will need to seek alternate routes into the Research Park, such as First Street. (see maps below)
The project features a new sidewalk connection with pedestrian lighting along the north side of Saint Mary’s Road to Neil Street, and a new pedestrian crossing of Neil Street on the north leg of the intersection.
“The main reason is for safety purposes since there is no pedestrian access or path underneath that viaduct,” Stacey DeLorenzo of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign told the News-Gazette in an article published in February. “It’s increasingly busier for pedestrians to use it. We wanted to make a protected sidewalk or pathway on the north side of the street so people either walking or on a bike could not be having to deal with the cars all the time.”
The project has its roots in a 2008 study conducted by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, which recommended a sidewalk be added to the St. Mary’s Road viaduct — the only viaduct in town under the Canadian National Railroad without one.
Serious discussions to implement the project resurfaced in 2018.
The entire section of road will be reconstructed, including pavement and sewer improvements, signal improvements, and upgrading curbs.
Impacts of the construction include:
- Oak Street will be one-way northbound at its intersection with Saint Mary’s Road. If taking Kirby as an alternate route to the Research Park, use First Street to go south.
- Saint Mary’s Road will remain closed until the roadway improvements are completed.
- Construction delays should be expected.
The street will be re-opened to traffic no later than August 14, 2021, according to the City of Champaign.
The Saint Mary’s Road Project is a cooperative project between the University of Illinois and the City of Champaign.
ROAD CLOSING: SAINT MARY’S ROAD, CHAMPAIGN
Between Neil Street and Oak Street
ALTERNATE ROUTES: FIRST STREET, WINDSOR ROAD, KIRBY AVENUE