Millions in federal funding to help update problematic Washington intersection
A longtime problem intersection in Washington is set to receive millions of dollars in federal funding for safety updates.
At a press conference Friday morning, Washington Mayor Gary Manier announced the $6 million project that will add traffic signals at the intersection of Nofsinger Road and Highway 24, and also realign Nofsinger to provide an easy outlet to surrounding subdivisions.
“In my 22 years, I hear the calls of accidents out there, the five deaths that we’ve had there,” said Manier. “The opportunity for younger drivers (to get in accidents) especially crossing that four lanes of traffic, because it’s not a square intersection today. So getting traffic lights there will actually eliminate a lot of the accidents that have happened out there.”
Of the project's total cost, $4 million is coming from a federal community project funding grant. Manier expects the city council to approve the remaining expense. The federal funding comes from a bill Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood said he helped develop.
“It’s really a death zone out there,” said LaHood, R-Peoria. “So, this money will go to fix up that intersection. So proud to bring that money back through a community funding project.”
A change to the intersection has been in the works for years. City Engineer Dennis Carr said the initial engineering plan was completed in 2017 and will have to be updated to current IDOT specifications.
The update won’t only provide a safety improvement. Manier is confident the change also will further incentivize development in the area.
“We’ve probably had three or four major project developers reach out to us about that property,” said Manier. “Baseball fields, a dome similar to Louisville Slugger. We’ve got a gentleman looking, wants to build an amphitheater. So there’s all kinds of opportunities, but without this infrastructure, nothing’s going to come to fruition.”
The city also announced a smaller grant of $50,000 that will be to update the police department’s evidence lockers to bring them in line with compliance rules.
“It’s not really climate-controlled,” said Manier. “We’re probably supposed to have everything climate-controlled.” He said the funding could either go toward a new building, or an update of the current one.
The official plans for the Nofsinger intersection update and full funding still need to be passed by the Washington City Council, but Manier estimates the project could be completed as soon as October of 2023. Construction should start early next year, he said.