Interchange to welcome motorists to University

By Patrick Wade

As the state plans to begin construction on a new interchange at Curtis Road and Interstate 57, the City of Champaign wants motorists to know that they are entering the home of the University of Illinois. The city received an enhancement grant from the state to add aesthetic structures to the new interchange.

The interchange will be a major entryway to Research Park and the south end of campus, Champaign City Manager Steven Carter said. The plan includes brick structures and columns featuring the block ‘I’ design commonly used by the University.

“It will convey the same theme (as the University utilizes) so that people will know that this is an entryway into the University of Illinois,” Carter said.

Champaign City Council approved Tuesday night the hiring of an engineering firm to examine other interchanges already in existence in Champaign to decide if the city can add similar features in those locations.

Carter said that the goal of the project is to make these interchange bridges more aesthetically pleasing rather than strictly functional.

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The state will begin construction on the Curtis Road interchange in November. The city will then add landscaping and brick structures to create a more visually pleasing entryway.