GENEVA – Geneva aldermen approved an intergovernmental agreement with the state for acquiring right of way parcels required for the $22 million East State Street reconstruction project.
The project involves the reconstruction and widening of Route 38 from the Fox River bridge east to about Kane Street, with a common turn lane. Signals will be interconnected from Kirk Road to Route 25, and there will be a bike lane on the south side of Route 38 from Nebraska Street east to Kirk Road with landscape amenities installed on both sides, Public Works Director Richard Babica said.
A new water main and new storm and sanitary sewers also will be installed, and the sidewalks and curb ramps will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said.
“Land acquisition is anticipated to take nine months, so our targeted (bid) letting is November of ’23 for construction in the start of ’24,” Babica said. “First year is anticipated to be utility work. … The second year will be actual road construction.”
The project cost – tentatively $22 million – is funded from state, federal and local sources, Babica said.
The latest agreement, approved at the Nov. 21 City Council meeting, formalizes the city’s ability to use the state’s “quick take authority,” which means the project will not be delayed through the land acquisition process, Babica said.
“The quick take authority is the legal authority entrusted by the state of Illinois to ensure that projects don’t get delayed within the negotiating process for land acquisition,” Babica said. “When the state comes to a verification of the property value, they then make that offer to the property owner. If the property owner decides to choose that – or to oppose that – it gets resolved in a legal process after the land acquisition is already acquired.”
In essence, Babica said, the state verifies the property value and then makes an offer to the owner.
“If they can agree on the price, fantastic,” Babica said. “If they cannot, rather than having the project get delayed years and years while the final determination is litigated, it is litigated after the fact.”
Babica said the state’s quick take authority is less cumbersome than going through eminent domain, which is the governing agency taking the property without the opportunity to appeal.
“Rather than have state projects get bogged down in the negotiating process, it’s a legal tool that the state is allowed to negotiate after the fact to a final resolution,” Babica said. “The average acquisition is less than 18 inches but the vast majority of properties are actually temporary construction easements, which allow the state, the city, as well as the general contractor, to work beyond the typical right of way.”
The construction easement allows the general contractor to soften the grading of a driveway approach or regrading, Babica said. The state considers a temporary construction easement the same as a land acquisition.
“The parcels have been identified, the plats have been finalized with the state of Illinois, but the property owners have not been contacted. The property owners cannot legally be contacted for the land acquisition process until all the final i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed,” Babica said. “And hopefully this is that last i or t that has been crossed.”
City Administrator Stephanie Dawkins said the action being taken is at the request of IDOT.
“Even though it is state right of way and we are acquiring property for the project in the state’s name because it is their roadway – but we’re doing the work – it allows us to use their process,” Dawkins said.
Geneva officials have approved several agreements with IDOT for the project, she said.
To give an idea of how long this project has been in the works, Dawkins said the first phase started in 2005.