East-side bypass: Status

By:  Diane Benjamin

Everybody in the County is represented by 2 Board members.  These two are mine:

The possible construction of an east-side bypass would never had happened if one of these guys wasn’t fully behind it.  The other voted to take the 10 million dollars to investigate building it.  I don’t know if he remembers, but one of them told me years ago he voted for it because it was free money.  I will let you figure out which one is which.

At meeting after meeting most citizens were against building it.  One of the above doesn’t care.  If the loss of area jobs continues, maybe soon it will be a moot point, but for now progress is still being made laying the groundwork.  One of the above promised it wouldn’t go forward if there was no need for it.


The west side bypass is working great – people drive right on by!  Go visit the Outlet Mall.  CI Shooting Sports is a great place, otherwise most of the rest is decaying.

I received some status information under the Freedom of Information Act.  Emails show:

  • No property rights are being purchased yet
  • In January their schedule was at least 5 months behind
  • They love to use acronyms nobody but insiders understand ( SHPO, BDE, FHWA, D5, FONSI, etc)
  • Re-routing is necessary near Towanda to mitigate the impact on the historical house west of the Lamplighter subdivision (impacts on other subdivisions must be immaterial)
  • Soil testing is being done
  • The County is relying on the population projections made by the McLean County Regional Planning Commission that don’t take into account the latest loss of 400 jobs in one year

This email is from County Board member Victoria Harris to the MCRPC director.  Sadly, it sounds like the County would rather transfer responsibility for roads to the State instead of maintaining them.  Do you like Veterans Parkway?  It’s a State road.


You can see Vasu’s response here:  MCRPC Response

The response contains population projections.

I am in favor of building a new exit on to 55 at Towanda.  Meandering through town is silly when an off ramp could be built for easy access.  I am NOT in favor of destroying farmland and devaluing subdivisions just to bypass Bloomington-Normal with a highway and bike paths.



14 thoughts on “East-side bypass: Status

  1. You know I read the local daily paper and constantly I read about how bad Wind energy is or how it doesn’t help out locally. Then I learn in another area, Solar farms are a blight to look at and where does that energy go? And I haven’t mentioned gravel yet. All of these take up one thing. FARM GROUND. Where does this madness come from. Sometimes the road well traveled is the right road.

  2. I’ve heard about these useless plans for years. I wasn’t aware that 10 million dollars was taken to INVESTIGATE building it. Am I missing something? There is already an “East-Side Bypass” around Bloomington. If you stay on I-55 rather than exiting at Veterans, you bypass the city on the East side. Bloomington hasn’t completed the Hamilton Road “bypass.” Will there be an exit at South Main Street to access Downtown Bloomington? Where is the “One Voice” policy that Hales is always talking about? “Free money” doesn’t exist and neither should theses plans.

    1. The $10M was probably 4-5 years ago. (times flies – it could have been longer) They had a number of public hearings around 1 1/2 years ago to determine the best route. All of the proposed were destructive to subdivision on Towanda Barnes and farmland.

  3. All of this remind me of the hoopla back in the late 1990’s when Stark wanted a gravel operations north of Shirley and SW Bloomington. I went to several of those zoning hearings and let me tell you there were some threats being made from both sides but in the end he got his gravel operations.

    You never heard so much growth prediction in all your life. Of course Sandra Scott was sucking this all up as a big plus to allowing this to get approved. Blah, blah, this many houses would be built on the SW side. When the gravel operations ended it would be developed like the area on Normal’s SW side. Talk about some pipe dreams. What were these people predicting this growth as well as job growth smoking is what I would like to know.

    Yeah we can see where those predictions went. I haven’t seen any of it take place.

    Then the big plan to extend Mitsubishi Parkway south to Shirley to connect to I-55. Haha another pipe dream.

    There are a few people in this town that would just love to see that bypass to make a good sized profit off of it that’s for sure regardless if it was needed or not.

    If the city, county, and state don’t quit ripping up farm ground there is going to be even less prime McLean County farm ground to farm. There is no reason to have this bypass what so ever.

    Like I said before. The city, state, and county can’t even maintain the roads now. Idiots!

    I was talking to a relative of mine yesterday evening and he said if there was a revolution to over throw our government was to happen he’d join in. I’d have to agree and join in too. The city, state, and federal governments are all out of control. We’re sure many other American’s agree too. We think it will eventually happen. Maybe not in our life time but sometime.

  4. Saw on the NEWS this eve that in the last year (or so) Illinois has 10,000 fewer people, and that don’t reflect ALL who have left and been replaced by newcomers! A OLD TIME farmer in mu area used to say “Buy farmland-WHY? Cause they ain’t making ANY more of it” Their family now owns a few thousand acres.

  5. What exactly does sorenson stand to gain? He is the only person I know who thinks the east side bypass is a good idea. Has anyone looked into his connections? I bet there is a construction company really close. That is the only logical explanation.

    1. I think it’s the developers and CIRA. Expansion continues to go East. They figure if they place a strip mall next to the bypass, businesses will be knocking the door down to lease. But we all know what happened with the Crossroads Center. The CIRA wants to get people coming to their airport. Just what people need, more air traffic. They figure if a bypass is near it they can receive more business. It’s all a gamble that growth will continue to go east and that there will need to be gas stations, restaurants, hotels and other retail to support it. Sorenson probably has the ear of every developer that is sitting on land out east. However, they frame it as a response to population growth. That the traffic going through Towanda is unbearable. I bet the west side businesses are worried. I heard that the preferred design isn’t what the community task force recommended. They had it further east. This goes through, we will have plenty of bare strip malls to look at. I agree that Sorenson will look at it as a monument to his influence.

      1. Good gawd this goes against what the Mayor Professor Lawyer wants, downtown redevelopment. Not only that his jail cell mate David Hales spouted off about taking part of Highland Golf Course along Veteran’s Pkwy for strip mall shopping. Yeah right and what utter ugliness.

      2. That is the dilemma for many. Tari doesn’t want it because he wants downtown revitalization with taxpayer money. Sorensen does for who knows what reason, and it will still cost taxpayer for very little gain, 5 minutes chopped off getting to 55.

  6. What does the word Bypass, in respect to roads mean? To me it would mean a way around a area with a very limited amount of exits or entrances. Any thing other than that becomes a new road to help development of said area.

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