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WJBD - Local News - $4.5-Million Wabash Avenue Project Dedicated

Congressman John Shimkus cuts the ribbon ceremoniously opening the newly construct Wabash Avenue. Photo by Tim Ferguson.

Congressman John Shimkus, along with Mayor Tom Ashby of Centralia and Mayor Butch Mathus of Wamac at dedication ceremony. Photo by Tim Ferguson.

$4.5-Million Wabash Avenue Project Dedicated

The cities of Centralia and Wamac officially dedicated the recently completed Wabash Avenue Project Monday afternoon in front of Wamac’s new City Hall. 

The $4.5 million project was completed with $2 million from both the Federal Government and the State of Illinois, and over $500,000 in local funding.  The project included widening and resurfacing of 17th Street from Poplar to Wabash, and then Wabash from 17th Street south to Route 51, including a new turning lane for easier factory access.

Congressman John Shimkus says cooperation between the two cities and the federal and state government was commendable.  "Working together has a big impact on a time when we could use a big impact.  You guys are living examples that we’ll take the story back and we hope we can replicate that and other things.  We look forward to working with you once again,” said Shimkus. 

Centralia Mayor Tom Ashby made note of how the project was needed to help maintain and retain jobs in the area as well as attract new jobs.  "This gives us an opportunity to more importantly to maintain and retain the jobs we have here. For both of us to apply for the project and basically we were the lead applicant, and the cooperative efforts between both our staffs, but I also have to say we have to recognize the state officials and federal officials such as Congressman Shimkus, Senator Durbin’s office on their help to make sure this job got to completion.  I think this is going to be a tremendous asset for us,” said Ashby.

Centralia City Manager Dan Ramey  recalled how a year ago the thought that such a project could be completed was thought to be almost impossible.  “The joint effort between the two towns was extraordinary and the fact that a year ago the project had to be done on June 26th or 27th of this year for the EDA to stop the funding of it.  This road’s important for truck traffic here.  And so it’s great day for our area here,”,said Ramey.

Wamac Mayor Butch Mathus noted the addition of a turning lane was needed for safety.  "Three lane was sorely needed for the truck traffic that we got going into our industrial park.  It’s become a safety issue with accidents, and this is a good phase of what we have done in a regional concept in working with the City of Centralia and the City of Wamac to get this road done,” said Mathus.

Shores Builders of Centralia also was commended for completing the project within the time frame permitted by the State in spite of several delays.

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