CHAMPAIGN — For 12 hours on Thursday, workers poured, smoothed and worked the concrete that will become a 4,100-foot segment of a street that officials hope will spur the continued development of the University of Illinois Research Park.
Stark Excavating dumped about 24 truckloads of concrete per hour into the bed for a new section of South Fourth Street between St. Mary's and Windsor roads. For the city, it was the biggest concrete pour since a massive reconstruction of Curtis Road.
When it dries, said Public Works Director Dennis Schmidt, it will be a catalyst for more commercial development in the research park and be a major entryway onto the UI campus.
The $6 million South Fourth Street extension project has been under way for about two years.
"Obviously we hit a milestone today with the actual pouring of the concrete," Schmidt said.
When it is completed, the street will also have bicycle lanes and a "multi-use path" along the side of the road.
Lighted traffic signals will be installed at the intersection of Fourth Street and Windsor Road, according to civil engineer Chris Sokolowski. A four-way stop will control traffic where Fourth Street intersects with St. Mary's Road.
The opening of the main north-south road and other east-west connectors is still months away, Schmidt said. He expects that it should be open to traffic in May or June 2013.