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WJBD - Local News - Proposed Route 51 Expansion Will Not Cut Through Murray Center

The Murray Center Complex, on the right, will not be affected by the proposed expansion of US 51 on the left.

Proposed Route 51 Expansion Will Not Cut Through Murray Center

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

Around 100 concerned area citizens visited a public presentation by the Illinois Department of Transportation on the planned expansion of Route 51 between the Christian/Shelby County Line and the Village of Irvington in Washington County on Wednesday. The expansion will change the two-lane road into a four-lane highway allowing for larger amounts of traffic.

Many of the visitors had concerns about rumors initially held about how the highway would affect the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia. Unclear satellite imagery led some to erroneously believe that the Route 51 expansion, which is expected to run around around the west side of Centralia, connecting with McCord Street. While the intersection with McCord will run near the Murray Center Complex, it will not run through the center, which the State of Illinois is attempting to close.

The entire project is expected to displace 51 residences, 7 businesses, and impact 245 farms. IDOT Spokesman Greg Jamerson says that the state will work with impacted citizens and avoid eminent domain as much as possible.

"We will approach them to acquire the property needed to build this. The only time we would go to eminent domain is if we cannot reach a settlement, but we make every effort to negotiate with them" said Jamerson.

Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday between 4:00pm and 7:00pm at Sandoval Village Hall.

For more information on the proposed upgrade, and to see detailed maps, visit www.us51eis-idot.com.

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