Improvements to Peace Road near Fairview Drive in DeKalb sustain cost overruns

DeKalb City Council also OKs intergovernmental agreement with NIU for Lucinda Avenue work planned for spring 2025

Traffic heads north and south on Peace Road just north of I-88 Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in DeKalb. This stretch of road is going to be widened to four lanes this summer.

DeKALB – As the city of DeKalb looks ahead to the spring completion of improvements to the Peace Road corridor from Interstate 88 to Macom Drive, city staff learned of cost overruns that needed to be accounted for.

It all comes as the city makes preparations on another project with reconstruction set for the intersection of Lucinda Avenue and Normal Road in spring 2025.

City staff said a 2019 construction and engineering bid that was let in 2022 came in higher than anticipated.

During Monday’s council meeting, City Manager Bill Nicklas said the city was prepared for the cost overruns noted with the Peace Road reconstruction project.

“We thought we had enough money together to do what you saw mostly last summer, which was the section from the I-88 interchange and Peace Road north beyond Fairview Drive approximately up to Macom Drive,” Nicklas said.

Nicklas said the city had made a “pragmatic decision” to move ahead with the project understanding that federal aid wouldn’t cover all the expenses incurred.

“At that time, the city approved the city contribution because we were short a million and we were going to try to find a variety of local [and state] sources to help make up that difference,” Nicklas said. “But if we’d given up at that point, we would’ve lost $2.5 million [in Surface Transportation Program funds] and then we would’ve fallen off the federal [aid] list.”

The project engineering costs, which typically fall to local units of government to cover, have increased from $159,594 in September 2022 to $353,851 in May 2024, city documents show. Costs also must be paid to the construction engineering firm, Hampton Lenzini and Renwick, for materials and closeout with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Nicklas said council action raises the city’s share to help pay for cost overruns taking into account utility delays and project redesigns.

The added cost to the city equates to $66,397 with funding contributions offset by the state of Illinois, DeKalb County and the developer of Park 88, city documents show.

Roadwork on Peace Road is on pace to be completed by the start of summer, officials said. The project is nearing its end, but a construction to-do list remains.

Also at the meeting, the City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement between the city and Northern Illinois University to confirm cooperation between entities.

Nicklas said there’s no financial impact to the city, but council action is necessary.

“We do need an IGA under the rules of the game to get their permission to do this, to set up some temporary construction signs,” Nicklas said.

City staff said the bid letting for the project will occur in January or February 2025.

The road reconstruction, including the creation of a roundabout, is expected to begin in spring 2025, according to city documents.

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