Highland city officials will hold a ribbon cutting on Friday for Veterans Honor Parkway, with the new road tentatively set to open sometime on Monday.
The ribbon cutting will be at 10 a.m. near the intersection of the new road with U.S. Highway 40. However, Highland City Manager Mark Latham said the road will not open that day. Due to the timing of required traffic signal inspections by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), the road will not open until next week, likely on Monday, Latham said.
Veterans Honor Parkway will extend Iberg Road from Michael Road to Troxler Avenue. Originally, the city had hoped to have the road open by the end of June, but rainy weather forced delays.
“I think June was probably one of the wettest months we’ve ever had,” Latham said.
Keller Construction, which will not be penalized for not meeting the initial time frame, broke ground on the $6.5 million project in August 2013.
In addition to bad weather, Keller also spent more time than expected getting Dennis Rinderer Park, which is located along the new road, prepared for the city’s Memorial Day celebration, Latham said.
The road was named to honor Highland veterans who had lost their lives while serving the nation. A Memorial Day ceremony paid tribute to 21 local serviceman who gave their lives for their country.
Similar to Frank Watson Parkway (the northwest peripheral route), Veterans Honor Parkway (the northeast peripheral route) will have traffic and bicycle lanes. But unlike the first former project, this one required a new bridge to be built. The bridge carries the road over the CSX railroad tracks.
While all the bills have yet to be tallied, Latham said the Veterans Honor Parkway project should come in near initial cost projections.
“I think we are going to be pretty close to it,” he said, adding that about 3/4 of the project’s total cost was paid for by outside funding.
“The good news is $5 million was paid by different sources, other than the city,” Latham said.
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), IDOT and Madison County all chipped in to cover costs on various parts of the project. The largest chunk came from the ICC to construct the railroad bridge.
Other construction projects in city
Latham said the city is pursuing placing some sort of traffic control at the intersection of St. Rose and Iberg roads on the eastern edge of town.
The city had proposed a roundabout at the intersection, but Latham said he was unsure if IDOT would OK one. If a roundabout was not possible, the city would at least like to see a traffic signal at the intersection.
Latham said the city is also lobbying IDOT for a signal at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Hemlock/Frank Watson Parkway.
Meanwhile, many other construction projects are also underway in the city.
Right-hand turn lanes are being installed at the intersection of Troxler Avenue and Illinois Route 143 near Basler Electric. The state hopes to have that project wrapped up by December.
The city is also currently rehabbing Nagel Drive, the road that leads to the Korte Recreation Center (KRC). That project has become a little more complicated than initially thought, Latham said.
“They ran into some problems. When they took the subgrade down, water started squirting up in the air,” Latham said.
A high water table is what caused much of the road’s deterioration, Latham said.
“Water started seeping up into the subgrade and cracking the whole thing,” he said.
Additional drainage is now being installed to help alleviate future issues, Latham said.
Weather permitting, the Nagel Drive project should be completed within a couple weeks, Latham said. In the meantime, access to Glik Park and the KRC is open from Koepfli Lane.
However, construction to upgrade Sportsman Road will also begin soon. Latham said that project is six weeks behind, because crews have been waiting for Charter to relocate its lines before work can begin. The hope is to now have the Sportsman Road project completed by the end of the year.
News from Monday’s City Council Meeting
The Highland City Council on Monday:
▪ Approved hiring creating two positions for HCS service technicians. In a memo to City Council members, Light and Power Director Dan Cook said extra help was needed as the city’s cable, phone and Internet company continues its build out. Cook said HCS is currently running three to four weeks of lead time before it can get to new installations and hiring two new technicians would shorten that time frame, as well as cut down on overtime costs.
▪ Approved seeking bids for a new 1-ton truck and new backhoe for the Streets and Alleys Department. Both the truck and backhoe the department is seeking to replace are 2007 models.
▪ Approved a change to the city’s ordinance regarding industrial wastewater discharge. In a memo to the council, Public Works Director Joe Gillespie said the change was required by the U.S. EPA and required the city to change its general pretreatment program to reduce the burden on industrial users without having an negative impact on the environment. Gillespie said the change will not alter permit fees, nor should it have any negative impact on local industry. The EPA has already conditionally approved the city’s changes, Gillespie said.
▪ Rejected a bid from Lonnie Poettker to purchase a city-owned parcel near the CSX railroad tracks on the west end of the city. The parcel is located behind the current location of The Cabinet Gallery, where the school bus garage was once located. Poettker’s bid was $28,600, but did not meet the legal requirement of being at least 80 percent of the appraisal price. The property was appraised at $40,000, meaning the city could only legally accept bids of $32,000 or more. Poettker’s was the only bid.