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updated: 3/29/2012 11:40 AM

Libertyville prepares for road repair barrage in 2013

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  • Kenwood Avenue in Libertyville is on a tentative list of streets to be rebuilt in 2015.

      Kenwood Avenue in Libertyville is on a tentative list of streets to be rebuilt in 2015.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer


Selling the idea was the first hurdle, and with the solid backing of voters the steps involved with fixing a third of the streets in Libertyville are under way.

Arranging financing, hiring consultants, and sticking cameras in sewers need to be done so the village is ready for construction crews to swarm, come the 2013 road season.

Because it was uncertain whether voters would approve a property tax hike to pay for the work, village officials had to wait on doing the advance work.

But voters in last week's primary agreed by a 3-2 margin that available funds were not keeping up with needed road repairs, and voted to assess themselves an increase to pay the principal and interest on $20 million in bonds. The bond sales, a form of borrowing, will raise money for a multiyear program to repair and resurface 30 miles of village streets.

When all the bonds have been sold, the owner of an average $300,000 house will pay an estimated $136 more in taxes a year.

"In the end, residents want quality," said Trustee Donna Johnson, who chairs the streets committee, which met Tuesday to discuss the plan.

"We want everybody to be relatively happy with the investment we're making with these funds."

Which roads make the first cut on the "shave and pave" list depends in part on what the cameras fed through the sewer lines reveal. If extensive repair or replacement is needed, a given road may be deferred until later.

Once the priority list is finalized, the village will hire consulting engineers to prepare plans.

The additional $4 million per year from the annual bond issues, expected to begin this fall or winter, is quadruple what the village historically spends on roads and related engineering in a typical year.

Readying plans and specifications for that volume of work is considered too much for the two staff engineers to handle alone.

But what about the roads too far gone to be saved?

"We have a longer list of reconstructions than we have funding for over the next five years," said Public Works Director John Heinz.

Beginning in 2013, about $850,000 of the approximate $1 million in non-referendum money that comprises the village's annual road budget, will be targeted to rebuild streets and alleys.

The first project on the tentative rebuild list is 7th Avenue from Lincoln Avenue to Valley Park Drive. On Kenwood Avenue from East Rockland Road to Valley Park Drive, a new water main will be installed in 2014 and the street replaced in 2015.

The selection of Kenwood is good news for residents because their crumbling street finally will be replaced but bad news because it won't be finished for three years.

The Kenwood neighbors said they all voted in favor of the referendum despite their street not being on a list for repairs presented by the village before the primary vote. Neighbors presented the village with a petition and were told Kenwood was too far gone and would be dealt with separately.

"We were trying to educate residents," said Mayor Terry Weppler. "The referendum money is to prevent what happened to more streets than what happened on Kenwood."

This year, the bulk of the village's road repair budget will be spent on grinding and resurfacing Lake Street from Butterfield Road to Butler Lake Park and from a point east of the park to Brainerd Avenue.

The village will be responsible for about $910,000 of the estimated $1.3 million project not including water main work.

"It was selected because we were in limbo with the referendum," said Heinz.

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