After 40 years, 11th Street extension set to open next summer


Photographs courtesy of Maximilian Kwiatkowski

Construction of corridor continues on Stevenson Drive

After decades of construction, Springfield city council approved the final step in completing Springfield’s 11th Street Extension Corridor, which will act as a direct link between UIS and downtown.

The city will be purchasing the last piece of the half-mile corridor which will connect to Stevenson Drive. The road is set to open next June.

Springfield’s Mayor, Jim Langfelder, says the corridor will act as the “first direct connection from the UIS campus” to the downtown area, which he hopes will expand and boost the business and residential community.

“To me, 11th Street is more than infrastructure,” he added. “It is the ability for students to integrate more into the community by experiencing our businesses and various entertainment offerings along with giving our residents access to connect easier with the UIS campus.”

The sidewalks and five lanes will cost around $7 million, with federal dollars covering $5.4 million of it.

UIS Student Government President, Garrett Nimmo, says the project will make it easier for students to venture downtown, whether it be for a job, internship, or simply a night out with friends.

“I believe the 11th street extension will allow the University to fully utilize its downtown resources,” he said.

The corridor has been in the works for almost four decades, with the first stages beginning in 1979 when Langfelder’s father, former Mayor Ossie Langfelder, was in office.

Construction delays were largely due to the difficulty in securing local and federal funding, according to Assistant Director at the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, Molly Berns. The project simply hasn’t been high enough on the priority list until now.

This is the end of a long road, and Chancellor Susan Koch is excited at the chance to cultivate a better relationship between UIS and downtown.

“This has been a much-anticipated project for our university,” she said. “It will not only be a quicker and easier path to campus for our commuter students, but a better connection to the city and the Springfield community.”