ROCKFORD - Construction zones make traveling tough. There's usually detours and equipment plugging up streets. Those who ride the bus and travel through Downtown Rockford have been dealing with that for over half a year. RMTD riders say they're ready to see the finished project of the bus station on West State Street.
It's a hectic Mulberry Street. Passengers line up to get a spot on the bus. Amidst a transfer center facility under construction. "We're happy to see the construction project is on schedule moving along as it should," said Rockford Mass Transit District Marketing Specialist Lisa Brown.
"It's a great transportation mechanism in Rockford," said Rockford Resident Jesse Leach. "Construction kind of slows you down a bit. We'll get through it after awhile."
However, for some frequent riders, it's been too long. Residents have dealt with the construction since it began in January. Marie Niner has some doubts about the future.
"I understand it's supposed to be done by the winter, but what if it's not?," said Niner. "That's very concerning. There's people that are out here who have babies, I mean it's going to be cold."
Phase one of RMTD's project cashes in at nearly $5.1 million dollars, that money is used to update the facility and make it safer. "New transfer center will be nice," said Brown. "People with mobility devices will be able to navigate through the facility a little bit easier and a bigger footprint."
Meanwhile, 24 drivers and their vehicles load and unload passengers throughout the day. Mulberry Street in between Winnebago and Court Streets are blocked off. 'Sidewalk Closed' signs can be seen and the site fenced off, which can pose some risks while trying to cross West State Street. "You gotta take a chance with possibly getting hit by a car," said Leach.
The next phase is roadwork details have yet to be worked out. In the meantime, Brown hopes passengers and those passing through downtown remain patient throughout the process.
"[it's] a little bit chaotic when all the buses are here," said Brown. "Drivers and dispatchers have been very helpful getting people to where they need to go."
The station is set to be completed by this winter. RMTD has plans to put benches on Mulberry Street for riders to sit and wait while construction continues. Plus, a trailer is available for riders to spend time waiting for their bus out of the elements.
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