Highland News Leader

Plans for Troxler Avenue underpass in Highland postponed until ‘the right time’

Plans for the underpass under Troxler Avenue. The project was planned to connect Highland High School and Highland Middle School.
Plans for the underpass under Troxler Avenue. The project was planned to connect Highland High School and Highland Middle School. Courtesy photo

City officials have decided not to seek funding for an underpass beneath Troxler Avenue that would link the Highland High School and Highland Middle School campuses.

City Manager Mark Latham said that the city has different priorities currently and will not be seeking funding for the project any time “in the near future.”

The idea for the underpass was explored last year. The Highland City Council voted June 6, 2016, to seek funding for the project. Oates Associates, an engineering firm that works with the city and helped the Edwardsville School District with a similar project, put together the city’s application for an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant. Latham said that the application was submitted, but it was not selected for the program.

Latham said that the city will wait until more funds are available.

“Then we will consider applying,” he said.

The proposed crossing would be a 10-foot-wide path, 520 feet long, spanning from the high school’s entrance to north of the middle school parking lot, and the underpass would be a precast concrete box culvert, 12 feet wide by 8 feet high and 90 feet long. The project was estimated to cost around $1 million, and the ITEP grant would have been an 80/20 match, meaning the city would have to pay 20 percent of the project. The city also would have sought support from Madison County, because the county has a history of providing matching for such federal grants. Highland School District would have incurred no costs from the project.

The city held an informational meeting to discuss the underpass last summer. Attendees learned that the purpose of the underpass would have been all about safety. It was said by Steve Keil of the engineering firm Oates Associates, that in 2016 over 100 students cross Troxler a day, while traffic increases every year, with about 9,000 vehicles crossing per day.

A crosswalk is the current safety provision located between the two Troxler campuses. When pedestrians push a button, the traffic light turns red, signaling cars to stop.

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