MADISON COUNTY, IL (KPLR) – It`s a battle that`s been brewing since 2012, now the residents in Pontoon Beach, and surrounding townships are seeing the fruits of their labor. A stretch of Morrison road is torn up because of a new Union Pacific railroad project. It was just one of two ways residents could get in and out of their subdivisions.
Residents demanded a new road and overpass because of safety issues. According to Madison County 16th District Board Member Helen Hawkins and homeowner Sue Ann Archer, they attended numerous meetings with state and local officials to fight for a new access road and that`s exactly what they`re going to get. Ground work on the project started two weeks ago.
'It`s fortunate that people from Chouteau Township , Pontoon Beach , Nameoki Township and Granite City stuck together to get this safety road done. Some said we would get nothing, but we decided to never give up. They`ve hired a contractor to build the road and bought a lot of easements.' Said Hawkins
'We are just trapped out here if we don`t get a safety road. Last winter, we were just stuck out here. We have rain and floods we are just stuck.' Said Archer
News 11 also spoke to Granite City engineer Joe Juneau about project. Juneau says the original completion date was set for the end of July. That date was pushed back 18-months because of issues with buying farmland. The four mile 2-million dollar road will connect Morrison Road to Pontoon Road.
'We need to make sure the landowners are negotiating with us for the property, there is one landowner who has no interest in negotiating, but we`re trying to work through that.' Said Juneau
'It was too important to the people who live out here, I feel positive about it something good is going to happen.' Said Hawkins
Homeowners plan to meet with city engineers on Thursday to discuss the next phase of the project.