GENEVA TOWNSHIP – Before Mark Wissing left office as the Geneva Township Road Commissioner on May 19, he signed a contract to have a half-mile of Old Kirk Road resurfaced and a half-dozen driveway aprons repaved with asphalt.
The new road commissioner, Michael Abts, took office May 20. By the end of May, he had canceled the contract, leaving residents of the area – such as Brian Maher who lives on East Lane just off Old Kirk Road – wondering why.
Earlier in the year, the area’s 40-year-old culverts were replaced. The work involved taking out the residents’ driveway aprons and replacing them with crushed stone. Maher said he understood the stone had to settle before the asphalt could be put down in a two-part project.
Abts said he canceled the contract, which was for $81,040, because it was one-third of his budget for the whole year.
“Due to my budget concerns, I went out and inspected Old Kirk road myself,” Abts said. “And in my mind, it did not look that bad.”
To check himself, Abts had Kane County Department of Transportation construction chief Dave Boesch come out and look at the road as well.
“I wanted his opinion,” Abts said. “He said it did not need to be resurfaced, not for the amount of traffic on it. I did not want to spend $81,000 of taxpayers’ money when I have an engineer who says it can wait. I made the decision. I will take credit for the good or bad of it.”
Boesch confirmed that he checked Old Kirk Road and that it could go a few more years before it needs resurfacing.
Abts said he saw a few areas in which the edges of the road are going, so he decided to address those and the driveway aprons next spring.
“If I were to go out to bid now, it would be expensive because everybody has all their planning and work for summer,” Abts said. “The crushed stone should be fine until next spring or early summer.”
Maher said he is satisfied with Abts’ explanation and is willing to wait for the work to be done next year.