Residents' Road Concerns

The work involves the development of a new portion of Kewanee Church Road. Work there started last week. County officials say the purpose for the work is strictly for safety reasons. However, some residents don't believe it.

The stretch of roadway in question is less than half a mile long. In fact, county officials say it encompasses less than 300 yards. It involves a steep curve in Kewanee Church Road that soon could be bypassed by a new portion of roadway that's being built just yards away.

Many residents in the area we spoke with say one problem they have with the project is that it's not needed.

"You can see all the way around this curve here. We talked to the supervisors over the buses last night. He said it's not a blind curve because he knows this road himself,' says Arthur Tooles.

'This road is an old Indian trail and it should be preserved, not abolished,' says James Vickrey.

Touting how safe the current road is, residents opposing the change contend that the new road would be the opposite.

'It's really going to hurt because it drops down a hill there,' says Tooles.

'A bus or either a truck would flip on that cliff,' says Stanley Graham.

Because they feel that the current stretch of roadway is safe, opponents for the work say the project will only benefit one landowner.

'We're taxpayers, but we've got to pay to change the road,' says Tooles.

'That landlocks me killing my property value and I think that's just wrong,' says Donald Jones.

'I was approached by a landowner who would donate the land and dirt to the county to build a new road,' says District Two Supervisor, Wayman Newell. 'The bank for the new road would have to be shaved and taken out.'

In an effort to stop the work, a petition has been started by some residents. So far, almost 200 signatures have been collected. In light of the concerns being raised, Supervisor Newell says he will examine the issue further before work proceeds. Meanwhile, he insist that as long as he's in office, even if the new road opens, both portions of roadway will be open and maintained by the county. However, this is something residents opposing the new road say they doubt.

Supervisor Newell says although land and dirt for the project were donated by the landowner, the county will pay for the labor and asphalt. Residents opposing the project say they will officially present their concerns to supervisors at the board's meeting next week.

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