The recent story and photos run by the local newspaper about widening Route 2 north of Rockford does not tell the whole story. The tree removal is clear cutting thousands of trees from a strip about 100 yards wide and a quarter-mile long. That includes tree removal from a wetland. Drive north on Route 2, Main Street, and see for yourself. Reportedly, the IDOT says they will replant only 650 trees. How many years before that replaces what has been lost?
It is the worst kind of urban sprawl. It removes an attractive, shady green space and plants concrete. It paves over existing productive cropland and plants highways. All this destruction for a 3-mile expansion from two to four lanes. The price tag is over $20 million, so that amounts to $7 million per mile. Such a deal. The benefit? Suburban residents may be able to drive home faster from their jobs in Rockford. Some say it boosts economic development, but do we truly need an extension of strip malls and sports bars along Route 2? It is a sad, destructive waste of money when so many bridges and highways need to be repaired.
From the Nov. 9-15, 2011, issue