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Southwest Illinois News is a weekly news publication spotlighting attractions, events, entertainment, tourism, jobs and business developments in Southwestern Illinois
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Daytime Rolling Lane Restrictions on Popular Bridge
EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (SWI-News.com), February 20, 2018 - The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that daytime rolling lane restrictions will be encountered on the eastbound collector-distributor ramp of Interstate 55/64.

The restrictions will occur along Ramp D which are part of the eastbound collector-distributor lanes. The work area will begin at the east end of the Poplar Street Bridge and continuing to the Piggott/Tudor exit ramp at South 13th in East St. Louis. Rolling lane restrictions will also be encountered on the westbound collector-distributor ramp of Interstate 55/64 also known as Ramp A.

These restrictions will begin in East St. Louis at the Piggott/Tudor on ramp at South 13th Street and continue to the merge with the east end of the Poplar Street Bridge. Traffic entering the westbound collector-distributor from the east and northbound Illinois Route 3 will encounter lane shifts when entering Ramp A.

One lane of traffic will remain open at all times in both work areas. The aforementioned rolling lane restrictions are necessary to conduct deck condition surveys. The eastbound lane restrictions will occur on March 8, 2018 beginning at 7:00 AM with the westbound lane restrictions on March 6 and 7, 2018 beginning at 7:00 AM as well with the work in both locations concluding at 5:00 PM on their respective days. Traffic delays are anticipated, motorists are encouraged to consider alternate routes.

Traffic control devices will be utilized to assist motorist making thei way throught the work zone. The Department asks that all motorists be patient and use additional caution when traveling near and through this work zone. Please slow down and use extreme caution while driving through all work zones.


St. Louis Downtown Airport Welcomes West Star Aviation
CAHOKIA, IL (SWI-News.com), February 11, 2018 - St. Louis Downtown Airport said it has entered into an agreement with West Star Aviation to launch a new operation at the Cahokia-based airport.

West Star Aviation, which also has operations in East Alton, Ill., is a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Organization (MRO). The company specializes in the repair and maintenance of airframes, windows, and engines, as well as major modifications, avionics installation and repair, interior refurbishment, surplus avionics sales, accessory services, paint and parts.

West Star has purchased a 43,000 square foot hangar to provide its services at the airport, adding additional employees to its existing workforce in the Metro East and reinforcing St. Louis Downtown Airport's position as an economic engine for the region. St. Louis Downtown Airport is owned and operated by Bi-State Development.

Recent studies reveal the airport and associated St. Louis Downtown Heliport account for 3,371 direct and indirect jobs with a total payroll of $151 million. With a total economic impact of nearly $584 million, St. Louis Downtown Airport ranks among the top five airports in the state of Illinois and is the second busiest general aviation airport in the St. Louis region, behind Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

"The addition of West Star Aviation at St. Louis Downtown Airport further increases our worldwide presence in the MRO industry, and continues to demonstrate how public-private partnerships elevate our region," said Erick Dahl, Director of St. Louis Downtown Airport.

"We are pleased to continue to grow our operations in the Midwest. This expansion will allow us to provide additional resources for our future and existing customers," said Rodger Renaud, President & Chief Operating Officer of West Star Aviation. "The expansion further ensures we can accommodate our customers during high demand times with our world-class service."


"From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama" Exhibition
SPRINGFIELD, IL (SWI-News.com) - The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will help celebrate the state's 200th birthday with a major new exhibit about the four presidents who have called Illinois their home, said ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe.

The exhibit, entitled "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama," will explore their connections to the Prairie State, their political battles, the first ladies who helped them succeed and much more.

Visitors will see amazing documents and artifacts, including Ronald Reagan's yearbook from his high school days in Dixon, the table where Ulysses S. Grant's accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender during the Civil War, an original draft of Barack Obama's speech at the 50th anniversary of the Selma civil rights march, and the briefcase Abraham Lincoln used as president.

"From Illinois to the White House" opens March 23 and runs through the end of 2018.

"Illinois helped shape these leaders, and they in turn helped shape Illinois and the entire country. As we celebrate the state's bicentennial, it seems appropriate to take a close look at their lives and legacies," Lowe said.

"We're bringing together artifacts from more than a dozen institutions and private collectors for what will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit," Lowe added.

Items in the exhibit come from, among others, the U. S. Grant State Historic Site, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Barack Obama Presidential Library, National Portrait Gallery, Chicago History Museum and Wayne Whalen, chair emeritus of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The John Ullrich Foundation of Decatur has provided generous support.

The exhibit will be housed in the ALPLM's Illinois Gallery, a space dedicated to rotating exhibits on state history. There will be no extra fee to see "From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama." It is provided as part of regular admission to the Lincoln museum (212 N. 6th Street, Springfield).

For more information, visit www.PresidentLincoln@illinois.gov


New, Improved 'Getting Around Illinois' Website
SPRINGFIELD, IL (SWI-News.com) - The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has introduced a redesigned GettingAroundIllinois.com that provides continually updated information in a mobile-friendly format that's more convenient for the motoring public in Illinois.

"We are very excited to provide this new-and-improved resource for travelers," said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. "GettingAroundIllinois.com is a great place to get important information - from winter road conditions to construction site locations to road or bridge closures - for any trip, any time of the year. The new mobile-friendly format will get travelers the information they need quickly and conveniently."

In keeping with the demands of today's users, the new website includes the ability to identify and zoom in to your location, travel route or destination, whereas the former site offered a static map that provided a broad view of a user's overall location. Additionally, the new website is operated by a cloud-based system, creating a better opportunity to provide real-time information and reducing potential system downtime.

As construction season gets underway, work zone information throughout the state is accessible by selecting the map's "road construction zone" layer to see where a work zone is located, how long it will be in place and what type of work is being done.

One of the more popular features of GettingAroundIllinois.com is the winter road conditions map, which averages more than 2 million visitors during snow-and-ice season and is regularly used by news media and shared widely on social media. The new map features an enhanced color scheme that better aligns with current map technology used by surrounding states, creating a more seamless travel experience for truckers and tourists, and is easier for color-blind individuals to discern.


Drury Inn & Suites Completes Renovation of Hotel in O'Fallon, Illinois
O'FALLON, IL (SWI-News.com) - The Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois, has completed a full renovation to the property's 180 guest rooms and suites, public areas and more than 2,800 square feet of meeting and event space.

Renovations to the hotel's guest rooms include new mattresses and headboards, carpet, paint, window treatments, lighting and artwork. All of the guest bathrooms also received new showerheads, hair dryers and soft goods. The public and meeting areas of the hotel received upgraded lighting, new furniture complete with USB plug and play charging ports and artwork inspired and reflective of the St. Louis landscape.

"This is a great, fresh look for our property," said Ashley Timmons, general manager, Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois. "Our upgrades were influenced by guest feedback and were made with their satisfaction in mind. We're excited for our guests to experience our new look and feel."

The hotel is 20 minutes east of downtown St. Louis off I-64. Conveniently located near Scott Air Force Base, the hotel is also near a wide variety of local attractions. Because of its central location and numerous amenities, Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis O'Fallon, Illinois, is an ideal location for business and leisure travelers. Call 1-800-325-0481 for more information or reservations.


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