ELBURN – Elburn officials are once again considering the prospect of guardrails along both sides of Anderson Road. The road, which includes a bridge that crosses over the Union Pacific railroad tracks in town, was completed in December 2015.
Not long after the road opened, during a budget discussion in February 2016, village trustees talked about the possibility of adding fencing or guardrails along the side of the road. A number of residents had approached village officials about what they considered to be a pretty steep drop-off along the edge of the road, especially on the east side. They said it made them feel unsafe driving along the road.
The road construction, a joint project between several governmental agencies, including Kane County and the village of Elburn, gave Kane County the responsibility for maintaining the road for the first year, after which the village would take over. According to the intergovernmental agreement between the two entities, the installation of a fence along the road would be a shared cost; installing a guard rail would not.
Ultimately, village officials decided that the curbs along the side of the road were squared off and high enough to provide a safe barrier. In addition, they agreed that a fence, while likely to keep bicyclists from falling down the incline, would not do much to stop a motor vehicle.
However, Village President Jeff Walter said that as the weather has begun to turn to winter again, several residents have again approached him about the steepness of the incline and the safety of the road. Walter brought their concerns to the board at a Dec. 4 meeting, and trustees asked for an estimate for the cost to install guardrails along the road.
A rough estimate obtained by Public Works Superintendent Phil VanBogaert put the cost for 5,000 feet of guardrail to the north and the south of the bridge at approximately $120,000.
Walter said 5,000 feet would be enough to take the guardrail from the top of the hill down to the bottom.
Board members agreed to continue the discussion during the next scheduled Committee of the Whole meeting Jan. 2, 2018. Walter said he wanted the public to be aware of the topic, so that they could attend the meeting to express their concerns.
“I don’t feel unsafe driving on the road,” Village Administrator John Nevenhoven said. “I believe it has been engineered properly. But I can also see how some people could have a different perception.”
Nevenhoven said that the village is in an information-gathering mode.
“The cost is obviously going to be a factor,” he said. “It’s a good chunk of money.”
Walter said that if the village were to decide to install the guardrails, the money would have to be allocated into next year’s budget.
The Committee of the Whole meeting begins after the completion of the 6:45 p.m. Village Board meeting – or 7 p.m. – whichever comes first. The meetings are held at Village Hall, 301 E. North St., Elburn.