Route 13 construction update
MARION, Ill. - Interstate 57 ramps are being improved and major work is ongoing on the Route 13 corridor.
IDOT has construction sites set up from Mount Vernon to Carterville and the detours and road closures are catching some commuters off-guard.
Starting this Monday, drivers traveling Route 13 in Marion need to be aware of some lane and road closures just East of I-57, a few blocks down from Russel Street.
Bently, Vicksburg and Highland Streets will be closed for the week.
One lane will be closed heading eastbound on 13, meaning traffic will be slower and access to local businesses may be a little tricky.
Construction crews have actually attempted to start this project three different times now, but wet weather has gotten in the way.
When all is said and done, a portion of Route 13 will be six lanes, instead of four.
There's a nearly constant flow of traffic on Route 13 these days.
Larry Henk says expansion is IDOT's solution to the growing problem.
"This is going to help improve the traffic flow all the way from Route 37, eventually all the way to Carterville and hopefully Carbondale," said Henk.
When Elisabeth Abbott looks outside her storefront in Marion she is astounded at how the view has changed.
She was worried the orange and white barricades and heavy equipment would deter her tool shop's customers, but she says the construction has actually brought in a new clientele: IDOT and the work crews.
"They're customers of ours, they both have accounts here. So I'm sure when they run out of a drill bit or item on their trucks it's been handy to just come in. We've seen a lot more little ticket items," said Abbott.
Abbott says she is pleased to see the expansion underway.
"The streets in the community are the lifeblood to feed those businesses," said Abbott.
She knows even a temporary hit to Matrix Tools will be worth a smooth flow of traffic in the growing town.
There are a few other significant projects to take note of if you plan on traveling in Southern Illinois.
An intersection improvement is underway where I-57 and Route 13 meet in Marion.
A new bridge west of that will soon be constructed to go over the railroad track and two inside lanes will be added on I-57 North, all the way to Johnson City.