St. Clair County officials OK further archaeological digs at Rieder Road

News-DemocratOctober 17, 2013 

St. Clair County officials have OK'd allowing state workers to perform additional archaeological surveys of county property near the planned interchange at the Rieder Road and Interstate 64.

Officials with the Illinois Department of Transportation are seeking access to the area bound by the proposed interchange to determine whether the sites host significant archeological findings. State officials say the research is needed for further planning of the interchange.

This is the third phase of surveys for "historical preservation" from state officials, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Director Tim Cantwell said.

The property is near the county-owned MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah. The county's Public Building Commission, which oversees the airport, unanimously voted to grant access for the surveys during its meeting Thursday at the St. Clair County Building.

Construction is expected to begin in the summer as part of a $59.1 million plan to improve Rieder Road and Cardinal Creek Gate at Scott Air Force Base along with widening Interstate 64.

The commission previously granted access to allow archeological surveys on county-owned property although the agreement expired in December.

County officials have been working to fast-track the project since additional funding became available earlier this year from the state's multiyear construction program. The money stems from the state's sale of bonds to fund the $14 billion Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan.

In other news, the Commission agreed to host the 2014 USO 5K Cross Country Mud Run on May 31 at the airport. The event benefits the USO of Missouri, which provides annual activities at Scott Air Force Base, provides services to military charter flights at the airport and operates a lounge at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for military personnel.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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