EAST PEORIA — The city hopes to improve a busy intersection with a new paint job, not a major construction project.

"We think that changing the lane configurations with new striping will benefit the businesses and the traffic flow in the area," East Peoria planning director Ty Livingston said Tuesday.

The plan to tidy up the stretch of Washington Street from the Spinder Avenue boundary of the Levee District in the west to the Interstate 74 access ramp to the east was made possible by a grant from the Tri-County Planning commission. The city hired Midwest Engineering Associates to study the traffic flow in the area and devise a plan to ease congestion in an area of the city that has clearly outgrown its infrastructure.

The plan calls for repaving and repainting the section of West Washington from Main Street to Spinder Avenue. The new configuration would include one lane of traffic in each direction and a middle turn lane. Eastbound Washington would include a dedicated right turn lane to eliminate right turning traffic from getting stuck at the light behind traffic going straight through the intersection.

On the other side of Main Street on East Washington, the currently too-narrow lanes in both directions would also be reduced to single, although wider, lanes in each direction with a middle turning lane. That configuration would last all the way through the Springfield Road intersection to I-74. That section of the project would not be repaved, Livingston said. The possibility of a roundabout at East Washington and Springfield Road has been removed for consideration for the time being, Livingston said.

There would be no traffic pattern changes at the intersection on Main Street.

Robert Culp of Midwest Engineering is overseeing the fine-tuning of the plans to include a traffic study that would project the new traffic flow through the area with current traffic data.

The East Peoria City Council would have to give final approval. Pending approval, Livingston said the city hopes to bid the project late this winter or early spring and  have the improvements completed this summer.

"We would like to have this done because we anticipate the chance of increased traffic in the area when (Illinois Department of Transportation) closes the Murray Baker Bridge (in 2020) for redecking," Livingston said.

The East Peoria project has $200,000 earmarked in the 2019 budget, Livingston said, although the hope is for the final bids to come in under that figure.

City officials have sounded the warning for future traffic challenges in the city, particularly in 2020 and 2021, when the bridge closure and the planned construction of a roundabout at the intersection of West Camp Street and River Road will occur simultaneously.

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