Oswego may seek bids soon for Rt. 71 main project : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Oswego may seek bids soon for Rt. 71 main project|
|Project necessary to allow state to widen highway to five lanes |
|by John Etheredge|
The Village of Oswego may be in a position to seek bids for a long-planned water main re-location project as soon as next month.
The water main currently sits in right-of-way owned by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) adjoining Ill. Route 71.
The water main extends southwest from the Route 71-U.S. Route 34 intersection, past Oswego High School, to the intersection of Route 71 and Paradise Parkway.
IDOT plans to widen Route 71 to five lanes between Route 34 and the Orchard/Minkler Road intersection. But before work starts on the widening project, the agency has asked the village to move the main outside of the highway's right-of-way.
The village has been seeking to purchase additional right-of-way needed to re-locate the main.
Jerry Weaver, the village's director of public works, said Tuesday the village needs to acquire right-of-way at the southeast corner of Route 71 and Franklin Street and Route 71 and Washington Street.
Weaver said the village has submitted counter-offers to both property owners and he is hopeful the village will soon acquire both parcels.
"If we do that in the next few weeks we could potentially be able to ask the village board for authorization to go out for bids on the water main project Sept. 4," Weaver said.
Steve Jones, village administrator, said Sept. 4 would be the earliest date village staff could seek bid authorization from the board for the project.
Weaver has said previously the water main was installed in IDOT's right-of-way in the 1950s, at a time when the village had fewer than 2,000 people and the need to widen Route 71 to four lanes was not anticipated.
While IDOT will pay to widen Route 71, the village is facing the cost of paying to move the main.
In 2010, the village's engineering consultants estimated the cost for the project at $3.7 million.
Since that time, State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, has secured a $500,000 state grant for the village to cover a portion of the project cost.
In a memo presented to the board last March, Mark Horton, the village's finance director, identified four potential funding options to pay for the project. The options are:
_Issue $6.5 million in general obligation bond, which could be structured to reach maturity over a 15 to 20 year period. To cover the debt service, Horton suggested the village's water rates could be increased.
_Increase water usage rates or add a flat fee to village water accounts.
_Institute a new tax or fee dedicated to paying annual debt service for the project.
_"Pay-as-you-go" using the village's fund reserves. "This would require a plan to replenish the reserves to today's levels over a short time because of existing outstanding debt covenants," Horton noted.
Jones said the board has yet to decide on which funding option or options it will chose.
"Actually, I have not had any discussions on that with the board as well," said Jones, who began his duties with the village in June.
Jones continued, "My guess is once the (bid) authorization goes out then we'll obviously kick-start this into that decision-making process."
Jones noted that Horton has previously discussed financing options with the board.
"Since this is new to me in terms of my participation, I will have all those options outlined previously by the finance director as far as their pros and cons so we can give the board a full picture," he said.
Jones added the board may choose to wait on deciding a funding plan until all of the bids are received.
Weaver said IDOT officials told him this week they plan to seek bids for the Route 71 project in November.
If that schedule holds, Weaver said IDOT's contractors could begin work on the project as soon as next spring.
He added that contractors for the village should be able to proceed with relocating the water main as IDOT's contractors begin the widening project.
Weaver noted that IDOT and village officials have been planning to widen Route 71 for the past several years.
"With the amount of traffic congestion and the number of accidents we have out there those additional lanes are going to be a much needed improvement," he said.