You may be more concerned with navigating snowy roads during this never-ending winter, but Libertyville is ready for the spring construction season.
Contracts have been awarded for the second year of the village's "shave and pave" street improvement program involving about three dozen streets throughout the village. The work is part of a $20 million taxpayer-funded effort to repair and resurface battered streets before they became worse and required more costly rebuilding.
By a 3-2 ratio, voters in the March 2012 agreed to a property tax hike to fix local roads. Owners of a $300,000 house will have paid an estimated $136 more in taxes each year to cover the borrowing cost of the five-year plan,
Libertyville officials at the time felt it necessary to seek a tax hike to do the work, Public Works Director John Heinz said.
"We were pleasantly surprised it passed. It passed almost as a mandate," Heinze said.
The intent of Libertyville's five-year program is to repair about 30 miles -- or about one-third of all village roads. Choices are based on those most in need of repair, coordination with water main and sewer work and other factors, and are subject to annual review.
The work begins anew as soon as weather permits. Village officials have awarded a contract of nearly $1.3 million, which is separate from the referendum funds, for associated water and sewer work. Peter Baker & Son of Lake Bluff was the low bidder at about $3.8 million for the pavement work.
Also, about $800,000 in non-referendum money is targeted for the reconstruction of Seventh Avenue from Glendale Road to Rockland Road and Kenwood Avenue from Glendale to Rockland.
Village officials said residents surveyed after work in their areas last year generally gave the program good marks. Dust and construction debris were the top issues.
"It's just fine-tuning. Most people were pretty happy," Mayor Terry Weppler said.
Weppler cautioned there will be much more roadwork in town to contend with this year than the local village program.
Lake County will add turn lanes on Winchester Road near its campus west of Route 21, he said, and the Illinois Department of Transportation plans to resurface Route 137 west to Butterfield Road and east to O'Plaine Road. That work would be on either end of a widening project at routes 137 and 21, which is entering a third construction season. Weppler said there also are plans for bridge work on Route 176 at the Des Plaines River.
"We'll have all our east/west roads being done at the same time," he said.