Macomb council gives green light to two major road projects
Two long-delayed road projects will finally get done this year in Macomb.
But with those projects totaling more than $8 million, the improvements will come at the expense of other street repairs.
Macomb city council members approved bids for the reconstruction of South Johnson Street and improvements to West Adams Street.
The South Johnson Street project calls for widening the road to include a center turn lane. A new storm sewer system will be installed along with curbs and gutters, and a multi-use path will be built on the east side of the street. The ditches will be removed.
In addition, the intersection of Johnson and Grant streets will be rebuilt.
The work will cost $6.8 million, including engineering services. The city will pay for it by culling money from a variety of sources:
- Rebuild Illinois funding - $815,700
- State Transportation – Urban funds - $4.1 million
- COVID funds - $76,000
- School District funds - $300,000
- Motor Fuel Tax funds - $500,000
- Local funds from the infrastructure sale tax - $1 million
It’s not yet known when work on the project will begin, but the goal is to complete it in 2024.
“This will be great for people sending their kids to the middle school and high school. That will improve traffic flow on South Johnson a lot,” said Public Works Director Alice Ohrtmann.
The total cost of the Adams Street project is $1.5 million, including engineering services.
The project will include construction of six-foot wide sidewalks on both sides of the street, plus new curbs and gutters and repaving the street from Johnson Street to Charles Street.
Repairs will also be made to the intersection of Adams and Charles.
The work will be paid for with $1,129,438 in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program funds and $450,000 from the city’s infrastructure sales tax.
The goal is to complete the project by the end of the summer. The street is one of the corridors to the Western Illinois University campus.
“The city of Macomb values the university and we’re doing our best to make improvements around the university,” Ohrtmann said.
The city made similar improvements several years ago to the stretch of West Adams from Lafayette to Johnson.
No other road projects this year
By using local infrastructure sales tax revenues to help pay for both of the projects, the city will not be able to afford any other road improvement projects this construction season.
“In past years we’ve done mill and overlay at various locations throughout the city. We won’t be able to do those projects this year. The money that would have been allocated to those projects is going toward Johnson and Adams,” Ohrtmann said.
She said the Johnson and Adams street projects had both been delayed several years, partly due to high bids for the work. And the bids came in higher than engineers estimated this time too.
She believes bids keep coming in high because the cost of raw materials keeps rising, and labor costs have risen too.
Ohrtmann said the longer the city waited, the more expensive the projects would become.
“This was going to be our best price,” she said.
In addition, some of the funding for both projects is coming from grants that will soon expire.
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