Some big changes are coming to downtown Rockton.
In two weeks, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) plans to replace a four-way stop at the intersection of Blackhawk and Main with a traffic light will become a reality.
“It’s going to impact business for sure,” said Nancy Ajrulovski, owner of Ray’s Family Restaurant, located just yards away from where the traffic light will be installed. “The stop sign works just fine, everybody’s happy with it.”
After more than a decade of planning, IDOT will begin installing the traffic signals on April 10. Part of the project will also widen sidewalks and re-pave a portion of Route 75. IDOT officials say they’re confident the construction won’t affect local businesses or disrupt daily traffic.
“The traffic lights will work more efficiently,” said John Wegmeyer, Project Engineer with IDOT. “It’s just going to be a change from what’s been there for years.”
Nancy Ajrulovsi disagrees.
“If there’s a stop light and it’s red and you have traffic backing up and people trying to back out of [the restaurant], it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge.”
Rockton Mayor Dale Adams says a village petition urged IDOT to leave the intersection the way it is, but now that construction is just two weeks away, he’s optimistic about how the change can help the village.
“Although we don’t like it and just assume it wasn’t there, we hope the decision is the right one and it will actually work out and benefit the community,” said Adams.
The $9.3 million construction project, which includes the stoplight, is expected to be completed in two years.