STERLING — By now, a $3.3 million project to widen and resurface a little less than a mile of Locust Street/state Route 40, from 14th to a little south of 25th streets, should be more that half over, so residents can be forgiven for wondering why one of the city’s busiest roadways isn’t ripped up six ways from Sunday.
“Before a project begins, all utility conflicts must be resolved, which includes the relocation of utility poles and fiber connections,” Kristopher Owens, with the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Office of Communications, said in an email Wednesday.
“These items are being resolved later than anticipated, so we’re delaying the work until the next construction season.”
That stretch of Locust runs north past the intersection with LeFevre Road, where CGH Medical Center sits, past Miller Road, which handles traffic from the CGH Main Clinic and Sterling High School, past the Kroger’s/CVS shopping center at St Mary’s Road/23rd Street, which handles much of Newman Central Catholic High School’s traffic, and past the intersection with Lynn Boulevard, the bypass that brings people from the western side of town to both the Locust and East Lincolnway business districts.
The project has been in the works for several years, and the state and federal money needed to get it done now is in hand. It will take about six months to complete, from May until sometime in November.
• Locust will be completely rebuilt from LeFevre to Lynn, with the pavement replaced and the road widened to three lanes to include a yellow-arrowed center left turn lane.
• Traffic signals will be added at Miller and St. Mary’s/23rd Street, while the signals at Lynn and LeFevre will be upgraded with left-turn arrows.
• A multiuse path will be built on the east side of Locust, north of LeFevre.
• A sidewalk will be added on the west side.
• Storm sewer, curb and gutter work will be done.
• Locust will be milled and resurfaced from 14th to just north of LeFevre, and from Lynn to just south of East 25th Street.
Of the $3.3 million, the city will kick in about $107,000, most of which will pay for 10% of the cost of the traffic signals and all of the costs of the attendant electric engineering at LeFevre, Miller, St. Mary’s and Lynn, which are local streets.