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Who’s going to fix the retaining wall?

City, county, state discussing which agency must pay

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The city is arguing that it is not responsible for a retaining wall that collapsed last week at the Old Lee County Courthouse.

A portion of the 3-foot-tall wall collapsed in Wednesday’s rain, forcing the city sidewalk around the courthouse to be closed. Debris, which included some 300- to 400-pound stones, was cleared by city workers Monday, City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen said.

Now Ortgiesen awaits a response from the Illinois Department of Transportation on who is responsible for paying for cleanup and maintenance.

An agreement when the wall was built about 20 years ago states the city is responsible to “maintain appurtenances,” or accessories around the sidewalk. The agreement also said IDOT is responsible for any design or construction flaws, leaving responsibility in question.

Ortgiesen, Lee County Board Chairman Rick Ketchum, Chris Henkel, county zoning officer and a representative from Illinois Department of Transportation met Tuesday to discuss the wall.

“The big question is whether the wall was built properly,” Ketchum said of the discussion.

Ortgiesen wrote a letter to IDOT making the argument it was a design or construction flaw on the state agency’s part.

“I want to get their thoughts on it, before the city spends any money on it,” he said.

The sidewalk will remain closed until repairs are made.

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