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Feds cancel Beloit bypass construction

By Sean Ryan

Local opposition and arguments against the need for a Beloit bypass killed the project years ago, but it finally was buried Friday when federal planners canceled environmental studies.

Planners in Beloit first proposed the project in 1971, when they wanted a new route that would redirect truck traffic away from the city, said Robert Soltau, manager of the State Line Area Transportation Committee, which is composed of representatives from municipalities in the area. The project would have created a new eight-mile highway that looped south of the city across the Illinois border, he said.

“The truck traffic isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be,” Soltau said, “while, at the same time, a huge amount of local opposition, as you tend to see on new road projects, cropped up.”

The highway would have run from northwestern Beloit and linked with Interstate 90 near South Beloit in Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Transportation held public hearings about the proposed bypass two years ago. But local planners shelved the idea because there was a lot of local opposition, Soltau said.

The project remained on the books until Soltau organized the area transportation committee last year to ask the Federal Highway Administration to cancel the bypass.

That happened Friday.

“I think we found it’s been dead in the water for years,” he said.

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