Town Mayor on Uptown Tunnel: 'We're Patient'

May 3, 2017

File photo of Gateway Plaza in Uptown Normal. A proposed underpass would go underneath the tracks in this location.
Credit Staff / WGLT

While the Town of Normal has narrowed choices to connect Uptown Normal with future development south of the railroad tracks, construction of an underpass could still be years out. 

The town is still seeking online input on the options presented last week by consultants WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff.  Public comment at a listening session on April 27  overwhelming favored the recommendation that best improved safety and access, while supporting economic development.  It was also the most expensive at around $13 million. Town Mayor Chris Koos said during Sound Ideas it's not a viable option for the town to pay for the underpass. 

"The scope of the project is too large for us to finance that locally," said Koos.  "I doubt we would go in that direction." 

Koos said if the town can find the money people will see a vital space with a park. He thinks of it as more of a connection between the two Uptown areas on both sides of the track, instead of a tunnel. "It won't be a dark dank tunnel."  

"It took us 10 years to get Uptown Station funded so, we're patient in that regard. We know these things take a long time," said Koos. "We're currently working on funding right now, talking to the Department of Transportation in Washington. It's a long process."

Koos said the public input session last week "narrows the path we're going down." 

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