Urbana approves widened Windsor

By Danielle Gaines

The City of Urbana held an informational meeting about the proposed improvements for Windsor Road on Thursday night. Representatives from the Urbana planning department and the engineering firm of Foth and VanDyke, 1610 Broadmoor Dr., were present to answer questions.

Windsor Road will be changed from a two-lane road to a four-lane divided road from Philo Road to High Cross Road beginning in 2008.

“I like that it is a boulevard,” said Dennis Roberts, Urbana City Council member for Ward 5. “I think that it is safer.”

Safety is the focus of the new construction plans. The lane width for a typical road is 12 feet, but the proposed lane width for the Windsor Road improvement is 11 feet. The decreased lane width encourages vehicles to travel slower and decreases the distance pedestrians have to walk when crossing the road.

A median will be added to most areas of the road, providing a refuge area for crossing pedestrians. A raised curb will be built on all sides of the road, which also serves as a traffic-calming feature.

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“We are working on being sensitive to all modes of traffic in all new roadway designs,” said William Gray, pubic works director of Urbana.

Marilyn Pollard of Urbana lives on land directly adjacent to the construction area. Intrusion onto private land for the project will be limited to occupation during construction. Any damage to land will be repaired after construction is complete.

“The plans sound great,” Pollard said. “They do a good job listening to us. I am especially glad that the traffic will keep moving.”

Stoplights will be erected at the intersections of Windsor Road and Philo Road as well as Windsor Road and Myra Ridge Drive. The stoplights will be actuated to respond to changing traffic demands at different times of day.

The city also plans to light the entire length of the new construction. Although the lighting is intended to be funded, implementation of all aspects of the project depends on costs at the time of construction.

“I have to be up front with you,” Gray said. “Some things may fall off the table at a later time, but these are our intentions now.”

The project will be paid for with federal funding that will be received in two equal payments in 2008 and 2009. Total federal funds are to total $3.4 million, covering about 50 percent of the total cost of the project. The project was given priority for funding through the Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study.

During construction, traffic will continue to move in both directions. Traffic will initially continue on existing lanes while the two new westbound lanes are being built.

After completion of the westbound lanes, all traffic will be shifted while the old road is rebuilt.

The road is being built to handle traffic needs projected into 2028. The number of vehicles that travel the road daily is expected to nearly double by that year.

“This is a major throughway for Champaign, Urbana and Savoy,” Gray said. “It will provide easier access to some of the major employers in our area.”

Additional public meetings about the Windsor Road improvement plan will be held in late January 2006.