GENEVA – Aldermen approved spending nearly $1 million Tuesday for the engineering work to improve East State Street from the Fox River to Kirk Road.
Officials have been planning this improvement since the 1990s, Public Works Director Dan Dinges said.
The Illinois Department of Transportation approved the city’s preliminary engineering of the project, now allowing officials to move ahead with the actual design plans a contractor will build off of, Dinges said.
The hope is that the project will be “shelf-ready” for when the state has funds for it. Dinges said the actual construction would cost about $15 million and the state would pay for most of it. The city would pay for most of the utilities and streetscape work, he said.
“The city is implementing [engineering] in the hopes [that] we can get IDOT to start to include East State Street in its schedule for the improvement,” Dinges said. “If a project on their list falls behind, we’re trying to set ourselves up to have it ready for that funding.”
The bulk of the improvement is to have five lanes through the stretch with fewer turn lanes at certain intersections and two lanes in either direction, Dinges said, with a unifying streetscape and bike trail from East Side Drive to Kirk.
The engineering contract was awarded to Bollinger, Lach & Associates Inc. of Itasca and will take 18 months to two years to complete.
The city will pay for it through three budget cycles: $200,000 from fiscal 2012-13, $500,000 from fiscal 2013-14, $209,000 from fiscal 2014-15 and $400,000 from tax increment financing funds, officials said.
The city long has wanted to unify the streetscape from the river to East Side Drive as it appears on the west side with sidewalks bordered by a one-foot band of brick, Dinges said
One problem with the city’s east side sidewalks is that many are right up against the curb. Dinges said being so close to traffic is not comfortable for pedestrians.
The city will look at buying some right of way and inserting green space between the sidewalk and curb, he said.
“That will make it a more pedestrian-friendly area. Enhancements will encourage pedestrian activity,” Dinges said. “Some will still have [proximity to the curb] because the right of way will be tight.
“We’ll have an east gateway feature that is still to be determined. The city wants to have a nice entryway there as you come into Geneva.”