Concord-Arenzville Roadwork Agreement Approved, No Update on Wind Farm Lighting

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 21, 2022 at 3:10pm

Morgan County is moving forward with plans to repair what some call the most dangerous stretch of highway in the area. The Morgan County Commissioners unanimously approved a local agency agreement for federal participation with the Illinois Department of Transportation for the proposed renovation of the Concord-Arenzville Road this morning.

County Highway Director Matt Coultas says this area has been a concern of his and the county’s for quite some time. “A lot of that can be figured on just the amount of traffic that that road sees. And being a two-lane and the amount of traffic that runs to and from Cass County and Morgan County in that location, we have seen a number of fatalities over the years. Those are things that you try to come up with the best plan you can with the money that is available to make the situation better for our traveling public here in the county.”

In 2019, four people were killed in two separate accidents over a two-month period on the two-lane highway. Coultas says the project was one he wanted to see completed when he came into his position. He says the availability of Rebuild Illinois Funding is now finally making it possible.

It’s been a little bit of a pet project, but I think it’s not just my pet project. I think some of my predecessors with the county would love to have done a number of other things too. With the R.B.I. funds that have been made available over the last three years, it’s just one of those things where this is the best place, in my opinion, to spend those funds and try to make things safer and try to protect our public as best we can.”

The project is up for the April letting and Coultas hopes bids will come in that can be afforded by the County. He says with the high cost of materials, especially the price of oil, the bids could come in well above the initial cost estimates.

In other action today, Regional Planning Commission Director for Morgan County, Dusty Douglas updated the board that contact information for the Lincoln Land Wind Project is available on the County’s website. He says there wasn’t much to update on the ADLS lighting issues, however, he hopes to know more today.

Not really an update on the lighting system, we are supposed to have a meeting today and I hope to learn more. The Commissioners and I talked about the addition to the county web page where there is information for Lincoln Land [Wind’s] automated system. I think it will handle most of the issues that folks have with the exception of the lighting. Hopefully, when things arise they will look for that and give that a call. It will be pretty user-friendly.”

The website was updated with the information after rural Morgan County resident Joana Ramsey spoke to the board at their last meeting to request that the contact information be easier to locate.

Ramsey lives within the footprint of the wind farm and has shared the concerns that she and other residents have with the constant flashing lights at night, as well as reporting shadow flicker at her residence.