ST. CHARLES – The final phase of construction along Route 64 has wrapped up, and St. Charles city and chamber officials, along with business owners along the route, celebrated Monday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Peter Norton, owner of Culver’s in St. Charles, where the ribbon-cutting was held, said construction started the day the restaurant opened on April 16, 2012. He said the ribbon-cutting was a celebration for all businesses along the east part of Route 64, also known as Main Street, and said “it’s like a new opportunity for us.”
“It was too much of an inconvenience for people to come out here. ... Now, the road’s wide open,” he said. “I don’t know what’s smoother now, the road or Culver’s frozen custard.”
The Illinois Department of Transportation began a reconstruction and widening project on Route 64 between Seventh Avenue in St. Charles to Route 59 in West Chicago in April 2012.
Business owners and city officials celebrated a ribbon-cutting event in September to mark the completion of construction from Seventh Avenue in St. Charles to Kirk Road. The second phase of construction was completed around Oct. 1, said City Administrator Mark Koenen.
Monday’s celebration marked the completion of construction from 38th Avenue to Route 59 in West Chicago. Koenen said some construction cleanup will continue, but should be wrapped up soon. He said lanes were widened from four to six in that area.
“All the motorists are glad it’s over,” he said. “[The construction] opens up opportunities for redevelopment and new development on Main Street, which is all part of the environment. The city needs to provide that for businesses to be successful.”
Marwan Taib, owner of the Spotted Fox Ale House, said he feels relieved now that the road is open again, especially in time for the holiday season. He said during the summer, he worried about being able to stay open, but coming up with creative and competitive specials helped.
“We think the future is going to be great,” he said.
Tom Hansen, chair of the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, said the construction project has been “long and drawn-out,” but now that it’s finished, it’s something for chamber members and merchants to celebrate.
“For the chamber, this is a very happy day,” he said. “Customers can get to their place of business a lot easier, and it’s safer on Route 64.”