By Bob Balgemann

Reporter

The City of Belvidere, Boone County government, and Belvidere Township are all involved in the upcoming improvement at the intersection of Poplar Grove and Lawrenceville Road.

This is a two-year project that is being done in conjunction with replacement of the nearby Pleasant Street Bridge, which runs near the front of the General Mills plant.

Two related actions were taken during the Feb. 21 county board meeting.

One was to make Poplar Grove – Lawrenceville a four-way stop intersection by adding stop signs to Poplar Grove Road. But don’t look for those signs to be put up anytime soon. In fact, it may be 2019, even early 2020, before that improvement happens.

“This just gets the ball rolling for the overall project,” said County Board Member Brad Stark, chairman of the Roads and Capital Improvements Committee. That is one of seven standing committees of the county board and voted 5-0 to approve the additional stop signs.

County Engineer Justin Krohn predicted the additional stop signs would be installed late in the summer of 2019, at the very earliest, but more likely in 2020.

Board member Cathy Ward emphasized the importance of this improvement. “I’ve had many calls about this intersection in the past,” she said. Adding stop signs to Beloit Road “has been effective” and she asked fellow board members, “Please do this” at Poplar Grove and Lawrenceville.

But another board member and Roads Committee Vice Chairman Denny Ellingson said he voted against the proposal at committee and would vote against it again that night unless he was assured the stop signs would not be going in until after the bridge was replaced.

That assurance was provided by engineer Krohn, who said he didn’t anticipate the stop signs being put in “anytime soon.” He added that design work had not been done yet.

Board member Marshall Newhouse said one of his goals is to keep traffic moving. With that in mind, he asked about the purpose of making Poplar Grove – Lawrenceville a four-way stop?

Krohn replied that this was not a requested four-way stop. But by adding left-turn lanes and creating the four-way stop, he said it “raises the level of service” for motorists.

Board members approved the four-way stop in a unanimous voice vote.

In a related action the board voted 11-0 with one absent to approve a contract with C.E.S. Inc., Belvidere, to do engineering for the improvement at a cost of $45,800.

The firm estimated a traffic count at the intersection over the next 20 years by increasing it 3 percent per year. It came up with the following recommendation: Create a four-way stop with single lanes for all approaches to the intersection and a right-turn lane for the westbound approach.

Boone County will pay 50 percent of the cost of the…

For complete article, pick up the April 8 Belvidere Daily Republican.