Metro-East News

Collinsville’s Belt Line/Keebler intersection will see improvements

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It will soon become easier to make a turn at the intersection of Belt Line Road and Keebler Avenue, Mayor John Miller said.

The Collinsville City Council approved agreements to make improvements to the four corners of the intersection at its Monday night meeting.

Miller called it an “extremely large project,” the cost of which is $1.2 million.

A contract for nearly $1.1 million was authorized with Petroff Trucking Company, Inc., and construction engineering services for no more than $142,082 with Oates Associates were also approved.

According to Public Works Director Dennis Kress, the city was awarded $358,400 in Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, or CMAQ, funding for the project in 2006. In addition to that funding, Kress said that the Illinois Department of Transportation also previously committed $172,000 toward the project.

Additional funding will come from the city’s northeast business district and motor fuel tax fund, according to Kress.

Miller said the project will disrupt traffic and asked that residents “bear with us” while construction is in progress. Kress said the contract is for 80 working days.

Clay Street, from Morrison Avenue to Combs Avenue, will also soon see improvements, including sidewalk replacement and new trees. The council authorized entering a funding agreement with IDOT for the almost $1.8 million streetscape project — $1.3 million of which will be covered by grants.

The city’s share of the costs will be paid with an estimated $501,000 in tax increment financing money.

New employees

The city will soon begin the process of searching for a new fire chief to replace Mark Emert, who resigned in December 2015, with the help of an outside source.

The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association will assist the city by presenting the council with a pool of candidates. The cost could be up to $15,000.

A representative from the association told the council in a special meeting Monday night that the selection process would likely be finished by July, when interviews with the council could begin.

The association will meet with city staff prior to selecting the candidates to develop criteria for the position.

Miller introduced four newly hired city employees to the public at the start of the regular meeting, including a chief building official and three streets department laborers.

Workers’ compensation

Two settlement payments for a total of about $61,000 were approved by the council Monday.

▪  A payment of $39,526 will be awarded to a city employee whose left leg was injured Sept. 13, 2014, and again Sept. 5, 2015, when moving a patient. The employee has returned to work.

▪  A payment of $21,539 will be awarded to a city employee who was injured Nov. 1, 2013, when removing a work bag from a patrol vehicle. The employee has returned to work. This employee previously received a $53,880 settlement payment in July 2015 for a separate injury incurred July 11, 2013.

Vehicle purchases

The police and public works departments requested the purchase of four vehicles for slightly more than $115,000, which the council authorized.

The police department will purchase three 2014 Ford police interceptors for $61,350. The cars will be assigned to two assistant chiefs and the investigations lieutenant. The public works department will purchase a 2016 Ford F550 dump truck with snow plow for $54,234 to replace a 2000 truck.

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes