At a recent meeting, the Fairbury City Council were presented with their options for a project to renovate H Street from 14th Street to Highway 15.
Justin Stark of Olsson Associates provided the council with the results of their recent study on the street, which was the result of a collaborative effort by both the City of Fairbury and the Jefferson County Commissioners. He explained that some of the results of the study were surprising, revealing why some portions of the road were poor quality.
“This is a major arterial that provides access to residents and their support services,” said Stark. “This also provides access to the northern part of Fairbury. The main goal of that study was to determine key information to allow the city to have the best plan of attack for any improvements that are needed on this corridor.
“One of the surprising things that people might not realize is that the thickness of the pavement ranges from one inch thick to seven inches thick,” Stark continued. “It’s kind of unbelievable when you look at a main arterial like that with the material. Sometimes we don’t realize what’s underneath us when we’re driving on the road. There are some sections that are just an asphalt overlay or just a chip seal that was put over a gravel road. So that tells a lot of the story of some of those areas that are breaking up and not holding up to the traffic.”
Stark explained that the reconstruction project could be separated into several minor projects, which would help the city determine the order of projects based on costs. While working to improve the quality of the road, the city is researching the option to improve the utilities infrastructure at the same time, such as rerouting overhead power lines to run underground.
“We broke it down to make it more manageable from a budgeting standpoint,” said Stark. “We were trying to group like projects together.”
The total estimated cost to renovate north H Street is $3.43 million, according to Stark. The timeline for the project, if it is approved, depends on what the city council decides to tackle. The city will apply for several grants to help with the cost of the project. City Administrator Collin Bielser explained that there are still some funds available from a grant which may be used for design costs.
Representatives from Olsson Associates also discussed the options for renovating H Street with the Jefferson County Commissioners because the road from 27th Street north is divided between the city and the county.
The council members will make a decision on whether to proceed with the project in June and how they would like to approach any proposed improvements. If they approve it, according to Stark, construction could begin in Spring 2018.
Here is a portion of Stark’s presentation to the Fairbury City Council: