by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove may soon reap the benefits of the federal government’s stimulus package. The Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) list of proposed highway improvement projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes $1.4 million to resurface portions of Route 47 and the Route 56 ramp.
IDOT several weeks ago released a draft list of 289 projects, including 698 miles of highway, intersection and bridge repairs, for a total of $693 million.
â€œWe’re happy to see some of the money come back,â€ Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels said. â€œIt’s long overdue.â€
Michels said he appreciates the lobbying efforts of board members and village staff as they contacted legislators and IDOT directly.
â€œThey’ve been working hard to bring our tax dollars back to our community,â€ he said.
IDOT spokesperson Paris Ervin said the projects on the list were chosen based on their readiness for construction. The shovel-ready projects will be included in the award process for bidding in April, and construction will begin immediately.
â€œThe principal intent of the stimulus package was to put people to work this summer,â€ Ervin said.
IDOT District engineers had already deemed the projects necessary, due to safety issues, the condition of the roads and bridges, public communication and traffic.
The funding will come in two waves, the first of which must be spent within the first 120 days. The second half must be used within a year, and most likely will be used for the 2010 construction season, according to IDOT Director of Planning and Programs Dick Smith.
Smith said the total cost of the projects is somewhat higher than Illinois’s allotment. In the case that other states do not have sufficient road projects ready for construction, Illinois could receive their additional funding.
No matching funds from the state are required to receive the funding. However, the Illinois General Assembly must pass a supplemental appropriations bill that approves spending the money.
Sugar Grove Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said the village is pleased that IDOT has chosen the roads it did for the funding.
â€œWe’re hopeful they do get funded and the work gets done,â€ he said. â€œNo one would disagree that the work needs to be done.â€
Eichelberger said there will be a regional benefit for the road improvements, with the use these roads see from traffic south of Sugar Grove.
â€œThe benefits go well beyond Sugar Grove residents,â€ he said.