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Roundabout won't be finished this year

Engineers trying to save city money on Nicor work

STERLING – The relocation of a Nicor gas main and lines will push the roundabout project at Lynn Boulevard and LeFevre Road into next year.

The roundabout was to be completed this fall, to coincide with the timetable of a warehouse expansion project at Halo Branded Solutions. The projected completion date for the warehouse area is December, and May 2020 for the office space.

The city learned last month that Nicor infrastructure was in the construction area and is waiting to find out when the utility can do the work. Enough time has passed to ensure that vehicles won’t be navigating the roundabout until 2020.

“We’re still hoping to start it this year, but it won’t be completed this year,” said Brian Frickenstein of Willett, Hofmann & Associates.

Martin & Co. of Oregon is the contractor for the job, putting in the low bid of $942,021.14, while Willett, Hofmann was hired by the city to do engineering construction observation.

The engineers have proposed modifications to Nicor’s plans in an effort to save some time and money.

“Because of the way some of the relocations were going, the city was obligated to pay for part of the work,” Frickenstein said. “We suggested some changes, but they’ll still have to do some relocation.”

The city could be charged $77,000 if Nicor carries out the original plan. If the engineers’ changes are accepted, the city’s share would drop to $23,000 – a savings of $54,000.

Another utility, ComEd, moved power poles that presented problems in the construction area. The contractor hasn’t been given a start date.

The gas main surprise was the latest in a series of setbacks that have taken the road project into next year. The wet spring made it difficult to get things started.

Then in May, the city learned it would not receive a state economic development grant it was counting on that could have been worth up to $500,000. The grant tied the roadwork to the Halo expansion project. City officials had to scramble and call a special meeting to make changes to its plans to finance the project.

The roundabout is being built to safely handle a rapidly increasing traffic load, largely driven by growth at several companies in the industrial park. The intersection now has stop signs, but going north and south only. The speed limit is 45 mph; in the single-lane roundabout, it will be 15mph.

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