DeKALB – After a particularly harsh winter, DeKalb County residents are just a week or so away from the area's second major season: Construction season.
"Contractors haven't started construction yet, but in a couple of weeks, you're going to start seeing orange signs up soon," DeKalb County Engineer Nathan Schwartz said.
This year's list of projects includes millions of dollars in funding from state and federal government and tackles both bridges and potholes. Construction season typically starts May 1, so here's a list of some projects to watch for in the coming months:
Five Points Bridge
DeKalb County Highway Department currently has one big project in the works: the $2.5 million replacement of Five Points Bridge in Kingston. Copenhaver Construction of Gilberts began working on the bridge in the fall, and crews hope to finish the job and open the bridge by the end of the summer, Schwartz said.
Federal funds are covering most of the construction project, but 20 percent of the costs are coming from DeKalb County property taxes and tax on gas bought in the county. Five Points Road north of Route 72 is closed throughout the project.
Sycamore City Council members recently approved a $918,000 construction project to widen Bethany Road to three lanes from Peace Road to Aster Drive. The project is expected to start in early May, and that part of the road will be closed as part of the work.
Officials will lay a temporary gravel roadway to give access to employees who need to drive through that part of Bethany Road. Motorists can check the city's website at cityofsycamore.com.
Keslinger Road bridge
The county will also start work on Keslinger Road bridge in Afton Township this fall. The bridge collapsed in 2008 after trucks too heavy for the bridge overwhelmed the eight timber piles holding the structure up. The replacement project, expected to be complete by the end of the year, will largely be paid for through a $900,000 court settlement with Enbridge Energy, the company that had overweight trucks crossing the bridge as it worked to build an oil pipeline.
Plans to reconstruct, widen and resurface Route 64 from Seventh Avenue on the Kane County western limits to Illinois 59 on the DuPage County eastern limits will start in May, said Kyle Videgar, IDOT field engineer for DeKalb County. In June, crews will resurface about 6 miles of Route 64 from the Ogle County line to Clare Road.
Crews are expected to finish widening and rebuilding the 37-mile segment of Interstate 90 from Elgin to Interstate 39 near Rockford this year, according to the Illinois Tollway Authority website. They also expect to start a similar project on Interstate 90 from Elgin to Interstate 294. Both projects includes improvements at interchanges and bridges throughout the corridor.
Along Interstate 88, crews are going to improve the roadway between Route 59 and the Aurora Toll Plaza in Kane and DuPage counties, according to the Illinois Tollway Authority website.
In Aurora, they also are going to repair the Randall Road bridge and replace the Church Road bridge, installing a wider bridge that allows more clearance above the tollway. They will rebuild portions of Church Road on both sides of the new bridge.
West of DeKalb County, crews are going to raise the Harmon Road bridge near Sterling and replace the bridge on westbound Interstate 88 over Route 26 in Dixon.
In addition, Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced $228,308 in funding for infrastructure repairs and filling potholes in DeKalb County, with $198,673 of that going to the city of DeKalb.
No matter where locals are driving this season, they need to be aware of the construction signs, Schwartz said.
"Even if they may not see workers on that stretch of the road, if they see orange signs, it means a potential for a dangerous situation," Schwartz said.