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updated: 10/15/2012 10:43 PM

Wheeling might take over Wolf Road

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The Wheeling village board will consider taking over Wolf Road from Milwaukee Avenue south to Manchester Drive from the state in exchange for getting the 8,000 feet widened and rehabilitated.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is trying to persuade local governments to take over ownership and maintenance of major roads, Village Manager Jon Sfondilis told the board Monday night.

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Discussions about improving Wolf Road have gone on for years, said village officials, but in July IDOT sent a letter offering to reconstruct and widen the road to three lanes with curbs, gutters and drainage if the municipality accepted ownership. In the past the state proposed resurfacing, and would probably do that if the village declines the takeover,

The village staff thinks Wheeling is in a good position to negotiate with what improvements the state will fund if the village takes over the street, Sfondilis said.

The village currently spends about $5,000 a year on the road fixing potholes and cleaning culverts that carry stormwater, said Mark Janeck, director of community development.

In addition to deciding whether to take ownership of the road, the board also needs to decide what amenities to install along the street, and the village staff has estimated how much they would cost.

An 8-foot sidewalk on the west side north of Dundee Road and on the east side south of there, plus streetlights, would cost $1.7 million if the village went alone without taking control of the street, and might be a little less expensive if the village accepted ownership. Adding lights and sidewalks plus burying power lines would cost more than $6 million.

Businesses on the east side of Wolf just north of Dundee would lose parking, Janeck said. But the biggest impact of widening the road would fall on homeowners. Their driveways would become shorter, and their homes would be closer to the road. The state already owns the land needed, but residents use it for their driveways, he said.

If Wheeling takes over the road, the village should also put aside $110,000 annually for its eventual rebuilding, which might be necessary in about 35 years, Janeck said.

Sfondilis asked for a board decision on Wolf Road within six months and said if the state sponsors reconstruction it would probably start in about two years.

Trustee Dean R. Argiris said he would like to see the board make a decision by December.

Trustee Kenneth R. Brady said he was in the "middle of the road" on the issue. But he would not like to see Wolf Road widened "without doing everything to make it a nice street," including lights, sidewalks and underground power lines.

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