Just a couple of quick looks at the intersection of Route 40 and Cedar Hills Drive on the north end of Peoria. (Thanks for the lift, John Martin.) Here we’re looking west at the intersection.
Cedar Hills is a rough, narrow two-lane road that runs between Dunlap, Illinois (somewhere to the top of the picture) and Caterpillar Mossville and Route 29 near the Illinois River (out of frame, behind the plane in this shot.) With proper maintenance and shoulders, Cedar Hills could be an important east-west connector for people on bicycles, but for the most part, it’s just another disappointing blacktop.
It’s unlikely to get any better as Peoria continues to move north.
In recent years, Route 40 has been widened to five lanes with broad shoulders to the south (left) of this intersection. Route 40 narrows to the north (right) of the intersection, but the shoulders, a welcome feature for bicyclists, continue for several miles.
As a result, bicycle traffic along this corridor has increased, though, don’t get me wrong, it’s far from a steady stream of riders, more like a few commuters and people on training rides.
Now we’ve moved to the south of the intersection looking north along Route 40.
This realignment is the most attention paid to Cedar Hills Drive in years. The two-laner is still narrow and still devoid of shoulders–not good for people in cars or on bicycles–but it now crosses Route 40 (Peoria’s Knoxville Avenue) at a right angle, which was the main driver behind the engineering work: improving lines of sight.
You can see how the old portions of Cedar Hills now terminate in dead ends on either side of Route 40. These dead-end roads serve a handful of houses and one business. They also create development dead zones on either side of Route 40, long narrow spaces that serve no useful purpose aside from buffering some residents from the realigned road. (One house to the northeast lost a significant portion of its front yard and the white fence that surrounded it to the construction.)
While they have no purpose, these dead zones are not without their costs. The amputations will be maintained in the summer and plowed in the winter. If the weeds within the dead zones get too high, the public will incur the mowing costs.
So you could say I have some issues with this road work, even though the downhill run on a bicycle along Cedar Hills Drive to Caterpillar Mossville remains breathtaking on any early, untrafficked Sunday morning.
You may even disagree that all the effort behind this realignment project was a waste of time and money. But agree or not, you have to admit that all the tree planting between the dead end on the east (right) and the intersection is a peculiar addition to a project designed to improve lines of sight.
Trees, after all, do tend to grow.