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updated: 6/19/2013 1:50 PM

Schaumburg to brighten up interchange bridges

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Schaumburg will soon reach out to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority with a proposal to add and fund architectural features to the Meacham and Roselle Road interchange bridges to help them better adhere to the village's own appearance standards in commercial districts.

Village officials plan to do this while the bridges on the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) are being rebuilt by the toll authority in 2014 and 2015.

Schaumburg trustees Tuesday agreed with staff recommendations to add decorative lighting fixtures, railings and columns to the bridges for an estimated cost of $930,000.

But trustees stopped short of approving a further recommendation of adding planters with annual flowers to the project that would have added another $70,000 upfront with maintenance costs of approximately $3,500 per year.

And even staff recommended against adding textured wall elements to the sides of the Meacham Road interchange ramps, bridge abutments and retaining walls. Planners concluded that such visual enhancements were cost-prohibitive at $700,000 to $1.35 million.

The cost of the project trustees approved would be eligible to be funded through the tax increment finance (TIF) district the village plans to create along the area between the two interchange bridges later this year.

As that TIF district doesn't yet exist, however, the project would likely be funded with bonds initially and then reimbursed with TIF funds, Schaumburg Transportation Director June Johnson said.

The village needs to inform the toll authority of its plans before the design of the two bridges is finalized in August, Johnson said. Although the architectural elements the village wants to add won't affect the design of the bridges, the toll authority needs to know that for sure, she added.

TIF districts, like the one the village is planning along its Algonquin Road commercial corridor, are used to entice redevelopment by providing funding for public improvements that go with it. Such funding comes from the annual increases in property taxes as property values within the district increase.

TIF districts expire after 23 years or when all public improvements have been paid off -- whichever comes first.

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