The roundabout in Utica will not be finished this autumn as workers have a near-zero shot of completing the circle at U.S. 6 and Route 178 this year. They are now shooting for spring 2023.
A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation confirmed Wednesday that contractors will not make the fingers-crossed goal of finishing by fall due to poor spring weather, an extended labor dispute and resulting materials shortage.
Kyle Videgar, project implementation engineer for IDOT, said the roundabout is approximately two months behind schedule.
The project is, however, currently moving at a brisk pace. Videgar said the northwest quadrant of the roundabout had some concrete placed recently. Over the next week, workers will add shoulders and fill in some of the gaps.
“Within a couple of weeks we should be switching into the northeast quadrant and we’d anticipate that taking one to two months,” Videgar said, urging motorists to exercise caution and be aware of changing traffic patterns.
“Beyond that, we’ll work as late into the year as the weather allows us,” he said. “It’s doubtful the roundabout will be functioning by the end of the year. It is likely that will happen in 2023.”
Though IDOT had hoped to have the roundabout functional this fall, Videgar said IDOT always anticipated having at least final touch-ups to address in early ‘23.
The cost remains fluid, as well. The roundabout previously was tagged at $2.4 million, but inflation has the bottom line likely to rise.
Meanwhile, one Utica village trustee said the project hasn’t been as disruptive to the local economy as feared.
Trustee Debbie Krizel said business owners have reported a difficult summer, though that has had as much to do with inflation and the general state of the economy as any difficulties resulting from construction. In fact, the temporary signals at the four corners have been deemed an improvement.
“Nobody has complained about them at all, village or tourists,” Krizel said.
Videgar agreed that traffic controls are working well.
“From our perspective,” Videgar said, “traffic is flowing well and the signals are working efficiently and effectively.”
Certainly, roundabout construction hasn’t stopped the tourists from coming. Starved Rock State Park has had a strong summer. Seasonal visits are 10% above average and the park had a record-smashing August.