Woodstock looks to reduce cost of proposed streetscape upgrades to Route 47 widening project

The original sticker price of $7.6 million could be reduced as much as $2 million, Mayor Mike Turner said.

Vehicles travel to their destinations by way of the intersection of Lake Avenue and Route 47 on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Woodstock. The intersection will become a roundabout as part of the Route 47 widening project.

As Woodstock gets closer to a project widening and resurfacing Route 47, city officials are sorting out details on the streetscape features that will line the road between Route 14 and Route 120.

The Woodstock City Council heard a presentation from engineering firm HR Green at a special meeting Tuesday on enhancements to the upcoming Route 47 project, which included landscaping, lighting and utility relocation. At the meeting, council members said they liked the ideas presented, but are trying to reduce the estimated sticker price of $7.6 million by as much as $2 million.

As part of the widening project, the city will need to move sanitary sewers and water mains, village documents show. Other design elements include medians, parkways, crosswalks, irrigation and landscaping.

The upgrades are a step in the process for the Illinois Department of Transportation, which is undertaking the project. Mayor Mike Turner called the upgrades a “one-time opportunity” while the project is being carried out.

“This is an opportunity for us to create an image for our community,” Turner said. “I believe the council is interested in making this roadway look good.”

The presentation Tuesday showed diagrams of where the company proposes medians and roundabouts, as well as shrubbery and plants, be placed along the stretch, ranging from about Route 14 in the south to around Route 120 to the north.

A slide from HR Green's presentation at Woodstock's City Council meeting on May 31, 2022, detailing the area that will see improvements as part of the Illinois Route 47 widening project.

Originally, the city asked for a range of designs from a more basic package to one more “ornate,” Turner said. With the presentation Tuesday combined with some of the cost-saving measures, Turner said he expects a mid-tier design that is “still dressy and looks good, but a little less in cost.”

Some ideas to reduce cost included looking into ground covering that doesn’t require mowing, changing the design to minimize the cost of long-term care, and limiting the decorative lights that are more expensive, according to a city news release.

HR Green also suggested it apply for federal grants, the release states.

The widening project – which includes adding two lanes and intersection improvements – is estimated to come in at about $58 million, but is being funded through the Illinois Department of Transportation. The goal is to reduce traffic congestion, but has left some worried about getting through the area while work is ongoing.

The city is expected to have one more discussion on the improvements at a meeting in June, before voting on the final designs in July, Turner said.