Major work set to begin on Belleville’s Public Square. How long will roads be closed?

·2 min read
Todd Eschman/teschman@bnd. com

If you’re driving through downtown Belleville this summer, look for detours while Illinois American Water replaces nearly 75-year-old water main pipes under the Veterans Memorial Fountain.

Work at the Public Square at the intersection of Main and Illinois streets is expected to begin June 5 and is scheduled to be finished by early September, the water company said in a news release Thursday.

Businesses will be able to remain open during the $1 million project but the iconic Veterans Memorial Fountain inside the traffic circle will be turned off during the project.

Water main lines will be replaced on Illinois Street from A Street to Washington Street and on Main Street from First Street to High Street.

“Temporary road closures are anticipated to begin in early June,” according to the news release. “A marked detour with visible signage will be in place in the downtown area to safely guide motorists around the closure.”

Illinois American said commuters can expect “temporary delays” and suggested they consider alternate routes.

“There could be adjustments in road closures or traffic patterns as the project moves forward,” the company said in an additional statement. “Any changes-adjustments would be coordinated closely with the City of Belleville. Public and contractor safety is critical.”

Christina Jackson, a real estate agent who has an office with Nester Realty at 12 E. Main St., said she hopes businesses in the work zone will be able to maintain foot traffic when the streets are closed.

Jackson acknowledges that it’s necessary to keep water main lines in good condition while noting that customers to local businesses might have to walk a bit farther to get where they’re going.

Water main replacement

Illinois American Water describes the work as “important and necessary.”

“The water lines being replaced are approximately 75 years old,” the Illinois American news release stated. “The original line was installed in 1949 with additions in 1955.

“The project will replace 1,700 feet of aging water main with new 12-inch ductile iron pipe.”

The work schedule was designed to avoid large street festivals such as Art on the Square, which concluded Sunday, and the Belleville Shriners Parade set for June 2. Belleville’s Oktoberfest is scheduled for Sept. 15 and 16.

Jeff King, engineering manager for Illinois American Water, said in the news release the “project is part of our proactive strategy to replace aging water infrastructure” in the metro-east.

“We recognize this is a temporary disruption locally but it’s essential that this water main be replaced,” King said. “We are working to minimize inconveniences and complete the project this summer.”