EAST PEORIA — To try easing long lines of traffic trying to get to the entrance of the Folepi's Winter Wonderland off of Springfield Road, city officials and the East Peoria Police Department want motorists to take a different route to get there.

Instead of taking one of the downtown exits off of I-74, try taking Exit 98, the Pinecrest Drive exit instead.

"Weekend traffic congestion from those wanting to visit the Folepi's Winter Wonderland has been an issue over the years. There have been times when all of the downtown intersections have been backed up, and it becomes worse when a train comes through town, further backing up traffic," Jill Peterson, the city's spokeswoman, said Wednesday. "The East Peoria Police Department developed the Exit 98 route last year for the weekends, and it really helped relieve traffic congestion in the downtown area.  The Police Department deemed it a success and that route is now being promoted as the way to get into the drive-through display not only on the weekends but throughout the week as well."

The exit number will be displayed on lighted overhead message boards by the exit. From there, traffic should proceed along Pinecrest Drive, turn right onto Muller Road, and then turn right onto Springfield Road. The intersections will be marked with signs.

The northbound lane of Springfield Road will have two lanes of traffic. Local traffic will use the center of the lane and Winter Wonderland traffic will use the portion closer to the curb.

The drive-through display of holiday lights will be open every night from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31.

Festival l of Lights officials have been encouraging visitors to come to the display on Sunday through Thursday since those nights usually have significantly lower wait times," Peterson said. "Even with the new Exit 98 route, those coming to the Winter Wonderland on Friday and Saturday nights should expect that there will be a line to enter the display."

Winter Wonderland hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $10 per vehicle, except for full-size charter motor coaches which cost $150. Cash, debit and credit cards are accepted at the entrance.

Gift tickets are available at EastSide Centre, 1 EastSide Drive, in East Peoria. Tickets are $10 each and are good through Dec. 31. EastSide hours is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It will be open limited hours on Christmas and New Year's eves and is closed on Christmas.

Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at shilyard@pjstar.com. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.