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51 Intersection 1 09.13.17.JPG

Signage on U.S. 51 near Macon warns drivers that the crossing with West Andrews Street Road is ahead. 

MACON — The Illinois Department of Transportation is having a meeting about proposed improvements to the intersection of U.S. 51 and Andrews Street Road, which state lawmakers and county officials have long identified as hazardous.

The meeting is set from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Macon Community Center, 1039 S. Woodcock Road. Anyone interested is invited to attend.

"It's not just for people who live in Macon, but for anyone that travels U.S. 51," said Mark Daugherty, studies and plans engineer for IDOT's District 7 — which encompasses counties such as Macon, Coles, Fayette and Effingham Counties. 

"The more people, the better," Daugherty said. 

The department said the purpose of the meeting is to provide information and receive comments about improvements to the intersection. Displays and other information will be available for review, and IDOT staff members will be available to answer questions.

Daugherty described the proposed improvements as "geometric," which are engineered to improve layout, the safety performance and cost-effectiveness of high-traffic roadways.

Phil Jacobs Sr., 80, of Pana died Sept. 12 from injuries he suffered in a two-vehicle crash on Sept. 4 at this intersection. It had risen to the attention of Central Illinois elected officials years before that, however, as several gathered in November 2011 to announce that they planned to lobby IDOT to add a traffic light.

Since then, no traffic light has been installed, but IDOT has taken other steps, including lowering the speed limit to 55 mph and adding signage and striping.

Daugherty said that the improvements have helped "some" at the intersection, but the problems it has still haven't been fully alleviated. 

IDOT hopes to start working on the improvements in 2019, he said, but that will depend on several circumstances, including the feedback the agency receives at the meeting. 

"It's hard to say if it's summer, fall or even later," Daugherty said. "I'm not sure at this point how many months it will take."

IDOT representatives will stay at the meeting to speak with attendees for as long as they need to, Daugherty said.

Those who want to provide feedback about the intersection before the meeting or to learn more about the event are encouraged to call Daugherty at (217) 342-3951 or to visit idot.illinois.gov.

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