When considering travel conditions on the way to this year’s Farm Progress Show, Bruce Bird, a Macon County, Ill., engineer, says attendees should focus on road construction near the site — especially on Interstate 72.
Since the last Decatur Farm Progress Show in 2019, travel routes have not changed, but road construction has certainly popped up.
“The biggest portion of construction is on the main routes coming into the show,” Bird says. “The one really close to the show is the reconstruction of I-72 between Argenta and Cisco.”
Anybody who is driving westbound into the show from areas such as eastern Illinois, Indiana and beyond will face one-lane travel before entering Macon County, he says. Show participants should prepare for the roadwork holdups.
“We anticipate that there’s going to be some traffic tie-ups and backups when they get down to one lane,” Bird says. “The good news is that once they get through the work zone, within three-quarters of a mile, they will exit toward the show.”
He says another benefit of the one-lane restriction is that attendees will already be traveling in a single-file line, which is necessary for entering the show.
Bird suggests using direction apps on your phone or visiting gettingaroundillinois.com to prepare for any construction outside of the Decatur area.
In the future, show attendees will see changes to the nearby Reas Bridge located about 2 miles east of the showgrounds.
Final funding has been received to reconstruct the two two-lane bridges into four-lane bridges, Bird says. When people come for the show in 2023, they will, hopefully, drive on a brand-new bridge across Lake Decatur.
Traffic is the heaviest in the mornings from 6:30 to about 9 a.m. Bird says officers and staff will park cars as fast as possible, so pay attention to their directions, and things will go smoothly.
“I usually don’t have to say much,” Bird says. “For such a large group of people, everyone is so well-behaved.”
The key to traffic safety at the show is being patient and smart. Be sure to keep an eye out, and be careful, cautious and courteous, he emphasizes.
Roadway tweaks happen every year, but Bird says he has observed that most Farm Progress Show visitors always seem to know what to do — something the traffic folks always appreciate.
The 2021 Farm Progress Show is set for Aug. 31 to Sept. 2.