Rockford city council members move closer to a major road project that'll shut down a West side intersection for months. A new agreement will save money, but that doesn't mean everybody's on board.
With a 10 to 1 vote from aldermen, city leaders are moving some money around for the three major Illinois Department of Transportation projects this year, construction on South Main Street, West State Street improvements and a round-a-bout at Auburn Street and North Main.
The three projects originally came with a $55 million total tab and the deal was always to have city leaders pay for $4.5 million that. Now, instead of funding small parts of each of the three projects, Rockford's going to foot the whole bill for the Auburn round-a-bout. IDOT will pay for the rest.
"The South Main project is somewhere around $22 or $23 million, West State Street is another $25 million." -says City of Rockford Public Works Director Tim Hanson.
By IDOT leaders taking on all the costs for the two larger of the three plans, they're able to bid for lower prices, which has already happened for South Main work.
"They had bids that came in for $19 million so they got those savings that are in there and this actually helps them out to be more efficient." -Hanson explains.
The only opposing city council member, 13th Ward Alderman Linda McNeely isn't just against paying for the round-a-bout. She's been against that entire project from day one.
"I think that it's going to cause chaos in the beginning and I think that we could've used funding, whether it's from the state or the city, on a different intersection that would've been more beneficial to the city overall." -she says.
The city has already demolished six buildings to make room for the round-a-bout. Leaders pay for the property and help with re-location assistance, but Alderman McNeely says a couple of those were businesses were *needed in that area.
Hanson doesn't have an exact start date for building the round-a-bout, since it depends on the weather, but he can say it should be finished by late October, early November of this year.
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