July 29 is a day most Route 59 merchants -- and all Plainfield residents -- have been anticipating for more than two years: The completion of the Route 59 widening project.
The village will celebrate the day with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and are encouraging all businesses in town to hold a weekend sale in which they price items using the number "59." In other words, 59 cents, 1.59, $59 and so on.
In addition to the ribbon-cutting event, the village will also pay to publicize the weekend sale, said spokeswoman Amy De Boni, who issued a media release on the idea.
The bulk of the $89 million widening project, in which Route 59 went from a two-lane to four-lane thoroughfare from Shorewood and Joliet through Plainfield wrapped up last October and November. The Illinois Department of Transportation held a 2010 to celebrate the work's completion.
Unfortunately, one section of the road -- from Renwick Road to Route 126 through Plainfield's downtown -- was not completed at that time. It's been being finished in sections, with the last portion being the stretch closest to downtown.
The widening project was one of those long-sought improvements that didn't come until after Plainfield and the other towns along Route 59 underwent massive population growth in the mid- to late-1990s. Traffic at times would be bumper to bumper at even during non-rush hour periods and a single car wanting to take a left-hand turn could tie up traffic for long stretches at a time.
Unfortunately, the road constuction was tougher on some businesses than the road congestion. Just recently, Edward Rizzi, owner of , said the effect it had on his business last year forced him to close this year.