BELLEVILLE — Roadwork has begun on a long discussed McClintock Avenue improvement project.
The $1.64 million project will slightly widen, resurface and add new curbs and sidewalks to McClintock between Mascoutah and Missouri avenues.
Mary Smith, a group leader of the McClintock Avenue Neighborhood Watch Association, said she is excited and ready to see the project done.
"We've lived with the deterioration of the streets long enough," Smith said. "I think it will be beautiful when it's finished."
Smith said City Engineer Tim Gregowicz and Kaskaskia Engineering Group project engineer Todd Reyling have been very cooperative every time residents called with questions. She especially appreciated the engineers making house calls last fall to homes affected by easements, tree removal and the like.
Ameren crews started utility pole relocation work Thursday. It will take about three weeks to move the power lines and drivers should expect closures during the day.
Residents in the area might also experience short-term power outages, but the utility company has said it will give advance notice to residents of any expected outages.
Construction will be done in two phases. The first phase is expected to start at the end of September and the project has a summer 2014 finish date, weather permitting.
The first stage of the work will be from Mascoutah to Portland avenues. This section of the road will be open when crews work on the second stage from Portland to Missouri avenues.
For the entire stretch, the driving lanes will be resurfaced with asphalt. Each side of the road will maintain a 12-foot driving lane, and the widening will occur with a 2-foot gutter, 6-inch curbs and a 6-foot sidewalk.
The strip of grass between the curb and sidewalk will be eliminated. And, there will be sidewalk on only one side of the street from Missouri to Carlyle avenues.
The $1.64 million project came in under budget and went to low bidder Gleeson Asphalt. Initial estimates priced construction at $2 million.
A federal grant will pay for about $1.23 million of the project. The city's share is $410,645, which will be paid out of motor fuel tax income.
Engineering was done in two phases by Kaskaskia Engineering and cost about $400,000, Gregowicz said.
The Highland Neighborhood Association and the McClintock Avenue Neighborhood Watch Association held a meeting last week to update residents on the project.
Smith said she and other residents at the meeting got a variety of questions answered.
For example, the relocation of utility poles will be marked on the sidewalks. And, instead of concrete, the asphalt that will be used has a 15- to 20-year life span and should make for a quieter street.
Residents also reiterated their concerns of McClintock being used as a truck thoroughfare. There is a 8,000-pound weight limit.
Gregowicz said the city will move weight limit signs to Carlyle and Mascoutah avenues to warn truck drivers before they approach McClintock. Before, drivers wouldn't be warned until they were on McClintock.
Former Ward 7 Alderman Phil Elmore, who moderated the meeting, said later he is proud to see the project come to fruition after discussing the improvements with residents for the past five years.
"It's been a long, arduous task, and they're ready to have their patience tried with detours and impact to their streets and driveways," Elmore said. "But I think overall the entire group is very happy to see this progress finally come to light."
City officials and residents have discussed the project since it was first proposed in 2005 and subsequently voted down by City Council because residents spoke against turning the street into a major thoroughfare, increasing traffic and damaging quality of life. Residents also were concerned over speed and weight limits, how much the street would be widened and the cost of the project.