By Kelly Youngblood
Your after-work commute may be a little smoother starting today.
A portion of Windsor Road that has been closed for over two years will be reopening today by 5 p.m., weather permitting.
All four lanes of Windsor Road from Lincoln Avenue to Boulder Drive will be fully opened to traffic, a milestone many parents in the Champaign-Urbana area have been anxiously awaiting.
“Curtis Road is pretty speedy, but with the time change and Curtis being so very dark, I’m thrilled to be able to take Windsor home again,” said Crystal Wyser.
One person who has many reasons to be thrilled: The Little Gym owner Lindsay Yeakel. The construction has adversely impacted businesses at the Pines, a neighborhood retail shopping center, where The Little Gym is located.
“We don’t have any traffic driving by to notice our businesses,” said Yeakel. “New tenants don’t want to sign leases in my building because of the construction.”
The construction has also affected her Little Gym clients.
“New families have been late to classes and miss the fun first 10 minutes of class because they forgot to drive a different way,” she said.
Donna Pepper, owner of One Week Boutique, is also excited about the road reopening. “My parents live one block from the Windsor/Race intersection- I am rejoicing!!! What a pain every single day.”
A one-mile section of the four-lane Windsor Road has been reduced to two lanes since construction began in August 2014.
Diane Marlin of the Urbana City Council said it should have been reopened a year ago but they discovered an unusual amount of cracking. That discovery kept the road closed another year, while testing was done to determine the cause.
While the City of Urbana has yet to determine the root of the problem, Marlin said they didn’t want to postpone opening the road any longer.
“It was really important to get the road completely open to traffic. It’s been a real inconvenience to travelers on the road, businesses in southeast Urbana and it’s a safety issue,” she said.
Marlin said it’s “unprecedented” that after a year of testing, the cause of the road cracking is still unknown. It’s also unclear how fixing the road again will be financed.
“Until you know the cause, you can’t plan for a solution. The big question is who is going to pay for it,” she said.
While the City continues to work on finding a long-term solution, local residents like Douglas Miller are happy to be able to use Windsor Road again without any construction barriers. “They closed this road the day we went to Carle to have our daughter. She’ll turn two in a month and a week! We are elated.”