Highland News Leader

Engineers hired to plan roundabout at St. Rose, Iberg roads

The intersection of Broadway/St. Rose Road and Iberg Road/Veterans Honor Parkway will be getting a roundabout.

At its March 3 meeting, the Highland City Council approved an engineering services agreement with Oates Associates Inc. that outlines the terms of construction for the roundabout.

According to Highland Public Works Director Joe Gillespie, an upgrade in traffic control is needed at the intersection due to increased car volume. Currently, east-west traffic on Broadway/St. Rose Road does not yield. North-south traffic is controlled on both Iberg Road and Veterans Honor Parkway by stop signs.

Gillespie said the intersection, which saw a fatal accident a few of years ago, sees large amounts of traffic in the mornings and evenings, and the number has only gone up as more people are using the Veterans Honor Parkway. Westbound traffic also tends to enter the city limits at “highway speeds,” Gillespie said. The roundabout will slow that traffic while also managing the high volume of drivers, he said.

City officials previously conducted a quality-based service agreement that solicited engineering firms for qualifications. Oates Associates was selected as the candidate that was the best fit. According to Gillespie, only qualifications were assessed when evaluating the firms; rates were not included.

“This firm is not the least expensive,” Gillespie said. “But (Oates) has been doing transportation projects for Highland for at least 25 years … We have very few problems when we go to build these projects. Overall, they are a reputable firm.”

Gillespie said that choosing Oates was actually an essential part in getting a federal funds for the project. City officials, working with the state of Illinois, have secured a federal safety grant that will pay for 90 percent of the costs associated with the project, including construction, preliminary and construction engineering, and securing right-of-way, Gillespie said.

Services to be provided by Oates for the project include a field survey, preparing a development report, environmental clearances, right-of-way acquisition services, plans, specifications and estimates according to federal-aid design policies. The engineering is not to exceed $171, 235, and the project is within the 2018 fiscal year Street and Alley budget. According to Gillespie, it has taken six months — what he called a “historically” long amount of time — to create the agreement at the state level for the project, which cannot begin without IDOT approval.

Other Business

Mayoral recognition

Mayor Joe Michaelis recognized Highland High School senior Trent Rakers for his accomplishments as this year’s Illinois High School Association state wrestling champion in the 152-pound weight division.

“I can assure you, he is a state champion in character as well,” Michaelis said.

Rakers and his coaches were introduced to the council. Michaelis recognized his achievements as Rakers shook the hands of all of the council members.

Girl Scout Week

Michaelis also proclaimed the days of March 12-18 as Girl Scouts Week.

The city hall seats were filled with youngsters, ranging from Daisies and Brownies to full-fledged Girl Scouts. The girls lead the council in the Pledge of Allegiance, and gathered around the mayor as he read the proclamation.

“I’ve done my part with the cookies, let me tell you,” Michaelis said.

Liquor license bottle almost empty

During the public forum and requests of the council, Michaelis brought up a topic for discussion that he said the council should consider formally at a future meeting.

Michaelis made the point that the city is currently almost at its max for the number of liquor licenses that businesses can have. The city can have a maximum of 24 Class A liquor licenses, and at the moment, the city only has one license available.

Michaelis said that he hopes in the future the council can revisit that number of liquor licenses and potentially change the threshold.

“Streamer’s Dream” rate approved

A Highland Communication Services (HCS) bundling option called “Streamer’s Dream” was approved by the council.

According to Anegla Imming, the city’s director of technology and innovation, the plan has everything a streamer needs to view all of their programs without a set-top box.

The new bundle costs $49.95 per month, with a one time set-up fee of $30. The package provides the current basic RF lineup provided by HCS, Fox Sports Midwest, and Internet speed of 60 MB.

The council voiced some concerns over whether or not the new program will cannibalize some of the HCS’s current profits.

However, Imming informed the council that the new plan was based on data that has been observed since April of last year. She said HCS has been losing customers to other streaming alternatives, such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. The plan is to be used as a transition, so HCS can adapt more efficiently to how television is expected to change in the future.

Bids sought for Veterans Wall

The council approved seeking bids for the construction of the “Wall of Remembrance and Honor” that is planned to be placed in Dennis H. Rinderer Park along Veterans Honor Parkway.

For months, the city has worked closely with American Legion Post 439 and VFW Post 5694 to plan the memorial. The council previously approved on Jan. 17 paying the estimated $35,000 for the wall’s construction.

The dedication of the wall is planned for Memorial Day 2017, so city officials said construction needs to get a move on.

“It is imperative the city moves quickly to advertise and seek bids for this project,” City Manager Mark Latham said.

Bids will be accepted until 10 a.m. March 28, and construction is expected to be completed by May 19.

The Legion and VFW are still selling brick pavers to pay for the commemorative plaques that will adorn the wall. Contributors can choose to buy either a brick or granite slab. The paver will have the name of the veteran or first responder in the donor wishes to honor. A brick costs $100, while an 8 by 12 inch granite slab is $300.

The Legion and VFW also invites citizens and businesses of Highland to donate toward the memorial. A donation form can be found linked the News Leader website. Send the form (including donation) to 1130 New Trenton Road, Highland, IL 62249. Checks can be made out to the Highland Area Community Foundation (HACF) Veterans Memorial Pass Through Fund.

MFT maintenance bid letting

The council also approved municipal bid letting for maintenance materials Illinois Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds. The materials on the bid are MC- 800 prime bituminous, HFRS-2 emulsified asphalt and seal coat, which the city uses for for oiling and chipping maintenance every year. In December, the Illinois Department of Transportation approved $255,000 worth of funding for Highland’s 2017 Motor Fuel Tax program. MFT is a state tax on fuel consumption and must be used for transportation improvements.