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Cities plan for improvement projects down the road

A roundabout like this one in Maryland might be on the radar for Sterling roadwork later this year at Lynn Boulevard and LeFevre Road. Sterling and Rock Falls are looking at smaller numbers of projects, but bigger in scope.
A roundabout like this one in Maryland might be on the radar for Sterling roadwork later this year at Lynn Boulevard and LeFevre Road. Sterling and Rock Falls are looking at smaller numbers of projects, but bigger in scope.

Sauk Valley cities are mapping out plans for road and infrastructure improvements for the upcoming construction season.

Here are some projects on tap in Dixon, Sterling and Rock Falls.


The city aims to spend about $4.5 million in the next 2 years on resurfacing nearly 100 blocks of street.

“We’re planning on making a great deal of progress over a very short period of time,” Public Works Director Matt Heckman said.

Very little resurfacing work was done last year, and the city is making a big push to catch up on road improvements and create a sustainable plan to spend $1 million a year on roads starting in fiscal year 2021.

“Streets will be aggressively maintained going forward,” Heckman said.

The city is prioritizing roads using a citywide street analysis conducted by Willett, Hofmann & Associates in December 2016 for about $31,000, which included rating every street by its condition.

The list of specific roads to be resurfaced in the next 2 years still is being finalized, but projects include Depot Avenue between Fifth and Seventh streets, North Peoria Avenue along Dixon High School, and Anchor Road, for which the city received a Truck Access Route Program grant totaling $66,000.

Once the City Council gives the nod to go forward, officials plan to bid out a large-scale project for work on multiple streets, 53 blocks in FY19 and 46 blocks in FY20, and the funding will be a mix of federal road dollars, motor fuel tax money and revenue from the city infrastructure tax, Heckman said.


Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard said the city estimates spending about $1.2 million on road improvements this year, with a focus on fixing up the Avenue G bridge.

“The Avenue G bridge has a number of repairs we need to make that’ll take much of the road budget,” he said.

Work will include replacing expansion joint seals and making repairs to bridge piers and slope walls. The funds will come from the the half-percent local option sales taxes for roads, Shumard said.

The other major project from the sales tax is improvements at the intersection of Lynn Boulevard and LeFevre Road, where the new Halo Branded Solutions plant is being built, which could become a roundabout.

“Construction would start this year, depending on the council’s feedback. It could come in February,” Shumard said.

The council heard a presentation at its Dec. 17 meeting from Troy Pankratz, senior project manager at Mead & Hunt in Middleton, Wisconsin, on merits of a roundabout at that intersection.

Traffic in that area is expected to increase in April, when Halo headquarters opens. Halo has plans to create 250 jobs during the next 5 years, which would double its current workforce.

Pankratz recommended the council do a detailed safety study, which could help with getting Highway Safety Improvement Program funds.

As for other projects, city staff are looking to coordinate with Illinois American Water Co. to resurface roads in conjunction with stormwater improvements and figure out an agreement to share the costs.

“This is especially likely if we can partner with Illinois American Water Co. as they replace water mains, similar to what we did with Avenue L a few years ago,” he said.

The city uses a computer program that ranks street conditions, and staffers inspect the streets to determine priority.

Rock Falls

The city has been setting aside sales tax money for the past few years for a project on South 14th Avenue, or Buell Road, from U.S. Route 30 south to the city limits, City Administrator Robbin Blackert said.

“This project has not been let for bids yet, but the engineers’ estimate is $750,000,” she said.

Other projects going to bid this year are a rebuild of South 13th Avenue from Route 30 south to West 14th Street, estimated at just less than $300,000, and curb installation at West 21st and West 22nd streets from 11th to 13th avenues, at $360,000.

“These areas have had severe problems with stormwater ponding, and we are hopeful the installation of curbs will allow for proper flow to the stormwater drains,” Blackert said.

“West 21st and 22nd will be resurfaced next year, either with slag and oil, or asphalt if the price allows. Either way, it will be a considerable improvement from the current condition.”


Tentative projects depending on the city coordinating with Illinois American Water Co. include:

• West Fourth Street from Avenue L to Dillon Avenue

• Griswold Avenue from Fourth to 11th streets, and from 11th Street to LeFevre Road

City staff also plan to address several projects using the half-percent local option sales taxes for storm sewers, with new or existing storm sewer, curb and gutter, and road surface. Those projects include:

• Second Avenue from Miller north to the dead end, with sidewalk work

• Sanborn Street from Spring to Merrill streets

• Harvey Drive from Woodside Drive to Lynn Boulevard, with sidewalk work

• Douglas Drive from Woodside to Chestnut Avenue, with sidewalk work

• Woodside Drive from Douglas to Harvey Drive

• Dillon Avenue from Fourth to Ninth streets

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