12 hours of concrete pave the way for Fourth Street extension

12 hours of concrete pave the way for Fourth Street extension

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.

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vcponsardin wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

What the U of I fails to realize is that Champaign-Urbana is not Silicon Valley and never will be.  Stanford got the jump on that cash cow fifty years ago, while the U of I remains at least half a century behind.  I can't fault them for trying, but the so-called Research Park is an enemic attempt and one that will likely waste millions of dollars the university can ill afford.  The U of I tries to be a world leader and a flagship destination school, but it is in fact a stepping-stone institution and always will be.  Most top people move on from here to better institutions eventually.  Why?  It's partly the provincialness (in attitude and action) and partly it's the horrible decision, made over 150 years ago, to locate the school in the middle of nowhere, hours from Chicago or any major city.  The U of I could have been another Berkeley (in all the best ways).  Instead, it's just another Cal State Bakersfield... And even Cal State Bakersfield has the distinct advantage of not being located in central Illinois.  (Let's face it--the real reason they built this road is to help the flow of traffic after football and basketball games.)

 

Midwest Unrest wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

Haters gonna hate.

MissM wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

Thank you for insulting everyone who lives in and loves this community by calling us provincial.

I suggest you call over to Research Park and ask for a tour. I think you will be surprised by what you see.

I am saddened that you think so little of Champaign County.

Trailmom wrote on September 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

So voponsardin, I'm curious: why exactly do you live in C-U?   Glad we have free speech to allow you to tell us how you really feel.  I also feel sorry for you that you are so unhappy about your current place of residence.  


 

vcponsardin wrote on September 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Ah, yes.  The ol' "America:  Love it or Leave it."  As I said, central Illinois remains 50 years behind the times.  This poor little school will forever be a mid-career stepping stone for most academics and administrators as long as the state and community continue to cut its support.  Where once this school received 80% of its budget from the state, it gets now less than 18%.  The U of I is rapidly becoming a second-rate private university.  Location and the provincial attitudes of an environment that only appreciates the school for its amusement activities (NCAA sports, for instance) is mainly at fault.  Not much anyone can do about that--except to attempt to vilify anyone who points out the obvious to the oblivious.  Nothing could demonstrate small town small-mindedness more than that.

 

 

C. Alcyon wrote on September 17, 2012 at 4:09 am

Um, wow.  So, the University of Michigan and Penn State (an excellent research university despite the football sex abuse scandal) only receive 7% of their funding from the state. I'd say we're doing pretty well in comparison.  Would you say Michigan, currently ranked 4th among public universities, is "rapidly becoming a second-rate private university"?  Illinois is ranked 13th of 115.   Nothing to sneeze at there.

And not all academics think themselves too good to remain at Illinois throughout their careers.   Real estate is affordable.  The air is clean.  Skies are dark.  You don't have to drive for hours and hours to get to the middle of nowhere.  We have two very good hospitals/healthcare systems right here in town.  We have an effective public transit system and are becoming increasingly bike-friendly.  We have a pretty damn diverse population for the middle of Illinois. We are not a small-minded small town, but a large, very livable university town with good schools and safe neighborhoods, and we are becoming increasingly progressive.

Yeah, I enjoyed being at Chicago, where sports were an afterthought and academics were paramount.  But I went to Penn State, where football was a religion and Paterno its deity, and quite frankly, with the exception of one weekend in March, Illinois isn't anywhere near the level of sickness that resulted in those crimes and their coverup.  You want small-town small-mindedness?  Try State College.  

Or if that's not small enough for you, maybe Hays, KS might fit the bill.  I hear out there they're trying to get President Obama off the ballot because they think he's a goldarned furriner.  Makes us look downright cosmopolitan in comparison, doesn't it?

If you're still intent on sneering, then, well, sayonara.  Just don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.  

nndsmom wrote on September 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

Vcponsardin,


Really?  You think that Cal State Bakersfield is on par with the U of I?  That is delusional thinking.  How many Nobel prize winners have come from Cal State Bakersfield compared to the number from U of I?  What is Cal State Bakersfield's ranking compared to U of I in any category?  While I don't know the figures on that I can take a pretty good guess that U of I pretty consistently comes out on top.


Have you been to Bakersfield?  I have and Bakersfield is no C-U.  Try living in Bakersfield for a year and see if you still think it's the better place to be.


And really, even if the road is meant to help the flow of traffic after sporting events, that sounds like a good thing to me.  I would welcome some relief from the gridlock when leaving Illini events.

ronaldo wrote on September 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

Said troll lost any semblance of credibility at "..the U of I remains at least half a century behind".  Obviously an overzealous neophyte with no idea what they're talking about.

Run along kids, there's nothing here to see.

etoyamasha wrote on September 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I would like to provide some basic facts about our Research Park:

- 1,400 employees

- 400 student employees every day

-11 Fortune 500 companies

-90 companies total

If you take the number of jobs that Research Park provides and use the multiplier effect of 2.5 you are talking about a boost to economy of 3,500 jobs. I take it you are not one of the lucky individuals to have a great job in the Research Park.

birdfarmer wrote on September 14, 2012 at 9:09 am

... and yet we can attract Nobel prize winners, inventors of the transistor, MRI and the LED who create a world-class engineering campus; go figure.

vcponsardin wrote on September 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Compared to "peer institutions," the U of I lags far behind.  Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, far out-rank us in those very catalogories you so proudly mention.  Sad to say, it's the stifling environment and backward community that holds this campus back--as evidenced by the comments on this thread.

CU wrote on September 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

How exciting another traffic light!!

 

I am happy to see how CU has grown and developed over the past 10 years, clearly city planners have put thought into the cities developement and established a long term plan. But really they need to reevaluate the road and traffic control, it is absolutly ridiculous that every intersection has a traffic light and none are synchronized I don't think I have ever lived in or visited a city with worse traffic control. I'm not sure if city officials are aware but this wastes peoples time and money, increases bad driving habits and increases pollution. Urbana is particularly bad about traffic control especially on University Ave and Lincoln Ave. Champaign is bad on First, Mattis, and Prospect. All major roads though town.

gbw wrote on September 14, 2012 at 11:09 am

A Chicago alum here who thinks the research park expansion is needed and in the best interest of the University and the C-U community. I read the few negative comments and yes of course that is a viewpoint of some.  Champaign Urbana is located on the Prairie, as is the State of Illinois and Midwest.  We should celebrate the prairie and the rich soils that surround C-U. I've never understood with all that greatness why we can't generate more Ag. research into bio-fuels, etc.  It's the best way for us to offset $5 gallon gas.  

The University has had its ups and downs the last 10 years with President  turnovers; grade and reporting manipulations and the Chief fiasco. The University not being in the top 10 of US News & World Report Public Universities is a result of such but can be turned around within the next several years with a return to competent leadership.    

The campus and C-U need a better vision of a strategic plan that takes advantage of the many core compentensies the University has in engineering, business, computer science and agriculture.  All can be accomplished to bring jobs and added research dollars to this State.  U of I needs to joint venture with the other schools in the State including ISU, Bradley, Northwestern and U of C to leverage the State's best brain power. Also, the U of I does not network enough with the Fortune 100 companies within our own State.  Why has the U of I done so little with Abbott, Baxter, Kraft, Boeing, Deere or Catepillar?  The IBM pull out a year ago seemed to me to just be mismanaged. 

As far as competing against Silicon Valley, Boston or Austin; C-U isn't in those leagues but can be a mid-tier research center. The University has a beautiful campus but needs to develop more of "riverwalk" scenario with boneyard creek hooking downtown Champaign and campus. I get down to a few football games and am complexed why there aren't capacity crowds (Ok, I know its been the lackluster program; but we have a new coach).  The campus needs to put together a bit more excitement for game days.  Look what some other BIG campuses are doing. Maybe close Green or Wright Street with a farmers market and music stages.  You'd keep the crowds in town longer. The University being designated one of the best party schools can have some benefits!  I'd like to see express trains running game day between Chicago and Champaign being able to take a shuttle or walk a landscaped riverwalk from downtown to campus and the stadium.    

 

etoyamasha wrote on September 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Just as an FYI, Abbott, Deere, Cat and State Farm all have offices in the Research Park and have just expanded their gifts to the university based on the value they are getting from utilizing students.

loopillini wrote on September 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

As a Champaign native and University of Illinois alum living in Chicago I am incredibly proud of the progress made in C-U and especially in the Research Park. The economic diversification is astounding and all of the recent successes are because of the thoughtful, community-minded individuals there. There will always be people who will lament that Champaign is not on the coast, that there are no mountains close by or that Beyonce and Jay-Z are not dining at KoFusion every night, but they are definitely an extreme minority. Most of us are proud of that community, and all that has been accomplished there, and we look forward to an incredibly bright future.

loopillini wrote on September 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

As a Champaign native and University of Illinois alum living in Chicago I am incredibly proud of the progress made in C-U and especially in the Research Park. The economic diversification is astounding and all of the recent successes are because of the thoughtful, community-minded individuals there. There will always be people who will lament that Champaign is not on the coast, that there are no mountains close by or that Beyonce and Jay-Z are not dining at KoFusion every night, but they are definitely an extreme minority. Most of us are proud of that community, and all that has been accomplished there, and we look forward to an incredibly bright future.

welive wrote on September 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm

or could it be it was just time to open it up to Windsow Rd.and thank you for putting in a bike lane so they wont waste any more of your money later.

This road is long overdue.Just a couple people we need to thank City of Champaign,U of I and ohh lets not forget Mr Peter Fox who owns half th land it goes through and the hotel.

lets all say thank You Peter Fox he built it

Sid Saltfork wrote on September 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

That is hilarious.  How do you think he knew where to buy land?  He has been in the state building lease business, and other connected state business for years.  Check out his, and his wife's connections to Ryan, and Blago in the past.  I am still laughing reading your fawning tribute.  Based on your comments, there is still hope for a Bill Cellini statue in Springfield.