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Route 51 meetings are next week in Ramsey, Vandalia

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The Illinois Department of Transportation will again seek comments from Fayette County residents as it continues to work on the four-lane expansion of U.S. Route 51 between Decatur and Centralia.

Representatives of IDOT and Clark-Dietz Engineers, which is serving as a consulting engineering firm for the Route 51 project, will be present at public meetings next Tuesday and Wednesday.

From 3-7 p.m. on Tuesday, those representatives will be at the Ramsey Village Hall. They will also be at the Ramada Inn Ltd. in Vandalia on Wednesday from noon-6 p.m.

The purpose of these public meetings is to present to the public an environmental impact statement that has been prepared for future expansions of Route 51 to four lanes.

In addition to reviewing that statement, area residents can offer comments to agency officials.

Since the introduction of a study related to the expansion of Route 51 to four lanes between Decatur and Centralia in the late 1980s, 35 miles of the highway south of Decatur have been expanded to four lanes.

A four-lane section of Route 51 south of Moweaqua was opened to traffic in the fall of 2007.

The next section to be constructed in a four-mile long bypass around Assumption.

Another four-mile, straight-line section from south of Assumption to north of Pana, as well as a seven-mile bypass around Pana are being designed, and will be constructed when funding becomes available.