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Village sees boost in traffic

Growth of Rochelle affects Steward roads

STEWARD – With 256 residents, the village of Steward wouldn’t seem to have any traffic problems.

But officials say Steward is seeing more traffic as the result of increased business activity in Rochelle, 4 miles to the north. 

Recently, Lee County officials have been discussing ways to deal with the increased traffic through Steward, which is in the county’s northeastern corner. 

The issue came up at this month’s meeting of the Lee County Board’s Transportation Committee.

County Engineer Dave Anderson told the committee that he would speak with the city of Rochelle about the issue, while County Board member Allyn Buhrow, R-Ashton, promised to get input from Steward officials, according to meeting minutes. 

In the meantime, Anderson said, the county would collect information on prices for flashing lights above the stop signs at Steward and Perry roads. 

On Monday, County Board Chairman Rick Ketchum, D-Amboy, said that with Rochelle planning to expand its industrial park to the south, that would increase the natural flow of traffic toward Steward because of its nearby interchange with Interstate 39. 

“If you start having industrial traffic, it could be a bad deal for Steward,” he said. “It’s a narrow intersection [at Steward and Perry roads]. It’s hard for trucks to turn.”

Steward Village President Jim Bratko said an industrial park expansion could increase traffic in the village. 

Some trucks, he said, bypass the Interstate 88 tollway by getting on I-39 through Steward, thinking it’s a little quicker.

Bratko said he favored flashing lights. 

“The ideal situation would be not to have semis come through the village,” he said. “Is that going to happen? I don’t know. They may have to change the weight limits on the roads to do that.”

To attend

The Lee County Zoning Board will meet at 9 a.m. today in the County Board meeting room on the third floor of the Old County Courthouse, 112 E. Second St. 

The board, among other things, will vote on a resolution on setting up displays on the lawn of the old Lee County Courthouse. Last year, some objected to the long-standing practice of allowing a Christmas display at the courthouse.

Call 815-288-5676 for more information on the meeting.

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