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Local

New cash from Springfield should speed up local road construction timetables

DeKALB – With capital funding increases on the horizon, municipalities in DeKalb County soon will decide which road projects most need the added dollars.

City councils in DeKalb and Sycamore will meet with their respective city engineers next month to reassess upcoming projects as a projected
$41.5 billion is dispersed across Illinois over the next six years.

DeKalb County and the Illinois Department of Transportation already have addressed where their allotted funding likely will go within the county, but a timeline is up in the air as they, too, reevaluate.

DeKalb

The City Engineer Zac Gill said he plans to meet with DeKalb City Council on Aug. 16 to discuss where an expected $700,000-a-year increase in funding from the capital plan’s 19-cent gas tax increase will go. At the moment, Gill said, resurfacing along Seventh Street most likely will happen a lot sooner than expected, but couldn’t say exactly when.

“We had a plan for that, but the funding has been so limited, we can’t work through it quickly,” Gill said. “It would simply allow us to accelerate that.”

Sycamore

Mayor Curt Lang said Sycamore will have a meeting similar to DeKalb’s to discuss where an additional $473,553 in Illinois motor fuel tax revenue will go. However, he said he was not sure which projects will be prioritized because the city has yet to consider the additional money.

Sycamore spends about
$2 million a year on road construction projects, Lang said.

“We’ve been very fortunate we’ve been able to keep up with a lot of the roadwork year to year,” Lang said.

DeKalb County

County Engineer Nathan Schwartz has identified about $140 million worth of road projects, including a $113 million overhaul of the county’s highways to bring them up to the state mandated 80,000 pound weight limit. The $1.3 million-a-year in extra funding the county would receive from Springfield would be significant, Schwartz said, but it only will be a fraction of what the county spends annually.

Some county projects
already receive funding from motor fuel tax revenue, such
as a $1.5 million rebuild of
Waterman Road between
Waterman and Perry Road that is underway.

IDOT highways

The Illinois Department of Transportation has its eyes on
Route 64 and Route 38 for its next big projects in DeKalb County, but a timeline is yet to be determined while the state reevaluates its plans for the next five years. Routes 64 and 38, between Route 23 in downtown Sycamore and DeKalb, respectively, to Kane County, were scheduled to be resurfaced within the next five years in projects totaling $7 million, according to IDOT’s five-year plan, published in 2019.

However, when IDOT reevaluates its projects for the next annual five-year plan and considers funding that will come from the capital bill signed June 29, the time frame for upcoming projects could change, IDOT Engineer Tom McCullin said.

“Technically everything is a work in progress at this time,” McCullin said. “We’ll see how things fall yet.”

In IDOT’s annual five-year plan, funding for resurfacing work on Route 64 from Route 23 to County Line Road has been budgeted for fiscal 2023, which runs from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. The $2 million project will cover milling and resurfacing for the highway.

Of the estimated $2 million budget, $1.6 million will come from the National Highway Program and $400,000 will come from IDOT, according to DeKalb Sycamore Area Transportation Study documents.

The city of DeKalb also is poised to receive roadwork from Illinois, according to the five-year plan. An 8.2-mile stretch of Route 38 will be resurfaced at the cost of $5 million sometime between now and 2023.

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