Travel & Tourism
IDOT Chicago-Moline Rail Service PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Guy Tridgell   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:02

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that an agreement has been reached with the Iowa Interstate Railroad to perform design work for a portion of the route for the new passenger rail service between Chicago and Moline.

Next month, IDOT is planning to begin making improvements to accommodate service on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway portion of the route.

“This agreement is another significant milestone in re-establishing passenger service between two great Illinois cities,” said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “I would like to thank the Iowa Interstate Railroad, as well as the BNSF, for working with us as the host railroads to deliver a service that will create jobs, spark economic development, provide another travel option and improve the quality of life in so many communities along this line.”

The agreement permits the Iowa Interstate Railroad to begin designing the signal system and plan the execution of the track and tie improvements that will allow passenger trains on the 53 miles between Wyanet and Moline. Once the planning work is done later this year and upon agreement between IDOT and the railroad regarding the scope of the project and the responsibilities for maintenance and operations expenses for the service, IDOT and the railroad will determine a construction timeline and start date for service along the entire route between Chicago and Moline.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September at BNSF’s Eola Yard in Aurora to facilitate additional passenger trains on the 109 miles between Chicago and Wyanet.
The Chicago-Moline service is made possible by $78 million from Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and $177 million in federal funding.

Agreement between IDOT and the railroads will return passenger rail to the Quad Cities for the first time since 1979. Service will begin with two daily round-trips, with stops in LaGrange, Naperville, Plano, Mendota, Princeton and Geneseo, which will receive a new $1.7 million station as part of the project.

In addition to these improvements, Illinois Jobs Now! is providing $5 million toward the new multimodal station in downtown Moline, a project that includes a federal contribution of $10 million and a $1.7 million local match.

Also under Governor Quinn, IDOT has led the multistate effort to utilize $47 million in federal funds from the $177 million grant to purchase new Amtrak locomotives and railcars for the Chicago-Moline corridor.

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Oktoberfest in the Amana Colonies Friday, October 3, Saturday, October 4 & Sunday, October 5, 2014 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Emily Kelly   
Friday, 01 August 2014 09:16
AMANA, Iowa – All are invited to celebrate Oktoberfest in the historic Amana Colonies. There’s a unique experience waiting for all ages during this traditional German celebration. German Food, Music, Costumes and FUN! A bit of Bavaria in your backyard!
Friday’s festivities will kick off with the traveling of the keg from Millstream Brewery to the Festhalle Grounds for the official keg tapping ceremony. On Saturday at 10:00 a.m. the Oktoberfest Parade begins its trek down the main street of Amana. This year’s theme, Magic of Autumn, will reflect the beauty of fall in the Amana Colonies. Test your skill with traditional Oktoberfest challenges and games at the Market Barn; Eisenmann Competition, Log Sawing, Keg Toss, Hammerschlagen, and the Brat Eating Contest. Of course, Kinderplaz, an area for kids’ activities, is back with pony & carriage rides and other hands-on activities. All this set in the beauty of the Amana Colonies!

Featured bands this year are Barefoot Becky and the Ivanhoe Dutchman, The Bavarian Musikmeisters, Johnny Wagner Band and our local German Amana group Die Tiefen Keller Kinder.

NEW THIS YEAR! A safer way to travel and a comfy place to stay, the Oktoberfest Hotel and Park & Ride Packages have been created with travelers in mind. The Clarion Hotel in Cedar Rapids, IA has packaged a one night hotel stay, 2-Okotberfest tickets, and a FREE Shuttle Ride to the event for one great price. If you are just looking for a safe ride down to the Amana Colonies for the event there is pricing available for that as well. See www.festivalsinamana.com for details. Let’s not forget the Scare Crow Trail that will take you through the Villages in Amana. A Bike Decorating Contest for children is a great addition to the parade this year as well!
Pre-sale tickets go on sale at the August 1st. Call the Amana Colonies Visitors Center today to reserve your tickets 800-579-2294. Pre-sale prices are $7.00 ($10 after presale) for a 1-day pass or $10.00 ($15 after presale) for a 2-day pass, with FREE admission on Sunday. Kids 16 and under are FREE if accompanied by an adult.

For more information and details to all the new events during Oktoberfest visit www.festivalsinamana.com.

 
Illinois Office of Tourism Road Show Stops in the Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by QCCVB   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 08:47
The Illinois Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism stops in the Quad Cities on their five-day, 16-stop "Road Show" tour around Illinois to share the latest record breaking economic impact numbers of travelers and provide updates on visitor data, job creation, revenue growth and tourism initiatives.

Please join us this week on Thursday!
Thursday, July 31st
3:30 p.m.
Quad City Botanical Center
2525 4th Ave. in Rock Island

 
Governor Quinn Reminds Drivers to Take Caution in Work Zones PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Katie Hickey   
Monday, 28 July 2014 08:08

Directs State Agencies to Redouble Efforts to Protect Public and Workers

Encourages Public to Increase Vigilance Following I-55 Tragedy

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today directed the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois Tollway and Illinois State Police to explore additional highway safety measures in the wake of last week’s tragedy that claimed five lives in an Interstate 55 work zone near Channahon. The Governor also urged the public to do their part to help crack down on reckless and inattentive driving in work zones throughout Illinois.

“I was deeply saddened and alarmed by the senseless tragedy on I-55 last week,” Governor Quinn said. “Our state police and construction workers are performing dangerous jobs in work zones, and we must take every step necessary to protect them and all drivers. I am directing the state’s agencies take any additional steps necessary to further improve the extensive safety measures that are in place so that inattentive or reckless drivers do not cause more harm.”

At the Des Plaines River bridge project over I-55, the site of last week’s accident, IDOT has installed rumble strips approaching the work zone. In conjunction with the Tollway and Illinois State Police, IDOT has developed public service announcements that utilize the overhead message boards on state highways to encourage motorists to stay vigilant and notify law enforcement if they spot dangerous drivers. Finally, even more Illinois State Police troopers have been added to the patrols around the I-55 work zone.

These new safety measures build upon strong protections already in place at the I-55 work zone, including extended work zone speed limits, speed indicator boards, extra Illinois State Police presence, signs alerting drivers of upcoming construction 20 miles from the project and a Smart Traffic Monitoring system to provide motorists real-time updates on travel times and backups.

State programs are also being expanded that allow state troopers to be hired by IDOT for special patrols in work zones. At the Des Plaines River bridge project, these additional patrols have resulted in more than 4,000 citations for speeding and nearly 300 for distracted driving.

Governor Quinn has directed the three state agencies to meet with federal agencies and industry partners about the recent accidents and to help prevent future crashes. The state continues to work with federal lawmakers to strengthen laws regarding continuous hours driven by truckers and to expand the use of electronic logs to track the number of hours they are on the road.

“We at IDOT remain committed to ensuring the protection of all workers and motorists in work zones – and we are redoubling our efforts in light of last week’s horrific events on I-55,” Acting Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren said. “While we have some of the nation’s best safety measures for work zones, we must take this opportunity to see what more we can do. We also want to urge the public to help by paying attention to signs, staying off their handheld devices while driving and heeding to our ongoing message for work zone safety: See orange. Slow down. Save lives.”

Speed and inattentiveness are major contributing factors to work-zone crashes. All motorists need to be especially careful when driving through work zones. Roadway conditions can change quickly and motorists need to be able to react appropriately. Traffic can be slowed down or stopped well outside of the actual work area. Narrowed and closed lanes, uneven pavement and heavy equipment operating next to lanes of traffic will require reductions in speed to ensure safe travel. Motorists are advised to remain alert for distracted and fatigued drivers and to notify authorities if they observe unsafe driving.

“We are committed to making construction work zones as safe as possible and urge drivers to slow down, stay alert and be prepared for changing conditions,” Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said. “With the largest capital program in the history of the Illinois Tollway in full swing, we have also committed the funds necessary to increase the number of Illinois State Police District 15 troopers assigned to the Tollway to provide additional assistance in construction work zones and throughout the system.”

“The traffic laws are clear and ISP troopers will be in these designated areas working to identify motorists who disobey work zone speed limits and other applicable laws,” Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau said. “We will continue to work hand in hand with our agency partners on a daily basis to continue to raise the awareness of road safety to reduce traffic crashes and prevent loss of life.”

Under regulations that took effect in 2004, fines for speeding in work zones are $375 for first-time offenders and $1,000 for second-time offenders, regardless of the presence of workers. If workers are present, motorists can lose their driver’s license for 90 days if they get a second violation. This year, speed-indicator boards are being deployed on all interstate projects with lane closures, after a significant reduction in work-zone speeds in areas where the boards were used under a pilot program last year.

Illinois averages more than 7,000 crashes in work zones every year. In 2013, there were 28 work zone-related fatalities, including one worker. In 2012, there were 19 fatal work zone crashes, involving fatalities to 13 drivers, three passengers and three pedestrians, two of which were construction workers. Last January, an Illinois Tollway maintenance worker died while attempting to help a semi-truck that was stalled on the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88). An Illinois State Police Trooper was also critically injured. In 2013, another Trooper was killed in a tragic accident on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294).

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FASHION AND TRAVEL UNITE AT SOUTHPARK PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Travel & Tourism
Written by Aleshia Chiesa   
Friday, 25 July 2014 13:25

WHO: As SouthPark Mall’s redevelopment continues, Gulliver’s Travel has now relocated and opened near the south entrance by JCPenney and across from One Stop Salon. Whether you are looking forward to the beach or a trip to the mountains this summer, Gulliver’s Travel is your gateway to a perfect vacation.

SouthPark Mall’s redevelopment continues as more than 200,000 sq. ft. of space will be demolished. With this, the food court glass dome and the red canopy entrance have been removed. As construction continues, more stores are moving and creating better locations for guests.

SouthPark Mall continues to bring new retailers along with expanded stores to further enhance the appeal and attraction for the local community. All stores are open during the construction phase as these enhancements are brought to the center.

WHAT: In preparation for the first day of school, a fashion show will be held in Younkers Court for the fall back to school season on August 2 at 2:00pm. Retailers like Claire’s Boutique, Icing, Four Seasons and Christopher & Banks will be headlining as Clear Channel’s Mark Manuel will emcee. The National Geographic Kids Club will be held at 1:00pm on August 16 where kids will learn about insects, making crafts and enjoying fun activities.

For more information on free, fun events, and updates on the redevelopment visit www.shopsouthparkmall-il.com/events or follow us on Twitter @SouthParkMallIL and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthParkMallIL.

WHEN: Gulliver’s Travel – Now Open

Fashion Show – August 2 at 2:00pm

Kids Club – August 16 at 1:00pm

WHERE: Gulliver’s Travel – South mall entrance near JCPenney and across from One Stop Salon

Fashion Show – Younkers Court

National Geographic Kids Club – Younkers Court

 
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