As a proposed interchange along Interstate 64 at Rieder Road inches toward becoming a reality, county officials are prepping for potential development spurred by the $15.3 million project.
The interchange is part of a proposed $59.1 million plan to improve Interstate 64, Rieder Road from Scott Air Force Base to Highway 50 and Cardinal Creek gate at the air base.
The project promises dramatic changes to the area, including industrial development north and south of the interchange, and commercial development west of the interchange to Illinois Highway 158.
In anticipation of the interchange's construction, members of the county Public Building Commission are looking ahead for ways to smooth the path for developers.
For example, Commission Chairman Richard Sauget asked project managers to prepare an estimation for how much it would cost to clear archeological sites in areas surrounding the interchange. Sauget said clearing such sites would speed prospective development.
A team from the University of Illinois has determined there are no significant archeological sites affected by the proposed interchange, but about 20 such sites are within the overall project. The cost to clear one such site near Scott Air Force Base was about $150,000, according to project managers.
Likewise, commission member James Nations said he was pleased to hear a related environmental study already encompassed potential commercial property west of the project in the hopes "the skids will be greased" for development.
Project managers have completed the required environmental study and are awaiting a "sign off" from the Federal Highway Administration declaring the project would cause no significant environmental impact, according to one of the managers, Geri Boyer with Kaskaskia Engineering Group in Belleville.
Once the feds give their approval, design work can begin on the project's infrastructure, Boyer said. Should the project's design receive federal approval, construction could begin as early as 2014.
The Illinois Department of Transportation has earmarked $28.2 million for the project, and Scott Air Force Base budgeted $2.3 million for improvements to Cardinal Creek gate. The remaining $28.6 million of the project remains unpaid for, but Boyer previously noted money can be provided in phases.