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updated: 8/4/2014 4:07 PM

Naperville seeking federal funding for road projects

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  • Naperville wants to widen the North Aurora Road underpass at the Canadian National Railway to be two lanes in each direction. The city is seeking $5 million in federal surface transportation funding for the project.

       Naperville wants to widen the North Aurora Road underpass at the Canadian National Railway to be two lanes in each direction. The city is seeking $5 million in federal surface transportation funding for the project.
    Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

 
 

Naperville is pursuing federal funds for three road projects to improve safety and traffic flow.

The city is seeking surface transportation program money to widen the North Aurora Road underpass at the Canadian National Railway, pay for a new traffic management system for Washington Street and add new streetlights as part of intersection improvements at Ogden Avenue and Columbia Street.

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Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development, said the city will apply by Friday to the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, which distributes more than $6 million a year in federal funds allocated to the county.

The North Aurora Road underpass is the most expensive of the projects at an estimated $34 million, $5 million of which Naperville hopes will come from the surface transportation program.

Before going under the railroad bridge about a mile west of Route 59, North Aurora road narrows to one lane in each direction.

"You don't want to narrow down a roadway as it approaches a bridge," Novack said. "It becomes a safety issue."

The underpass project would widen it to two lanes in each direction, add left-turn lanes, create areas for bicycles and pedestrians, install lighting and improve drainage. The city is pursuing changes with Naperville Township and the city of Aurora.

Separately, Naperville is applying for $550,000 to put toward a new traffic management system on Washington Street. Project costs recently increased from $950,000 to $1.5 million to pay for new fiber optic cables and control box equipment at each of the 26 signals along Washington between Warrenville and Royce roads.

The changes, along with sensors and cameras, will allow the system to automatically notice congestion and change signal timing without a staff member making the adjustment, Novack said. The system is expected to be fully operational by 2017.

The city also is seeking $135,000 for new streetlights at Ogden Avenue and Columbia Street, where the Illinois Department of Transportation is paying for the majority of $1.2 million in improvements including new right-turn lanes from southbound Columbia and eastbound Ogden.

Novack said the projects each will play a role in easing traffic congestion, which is one of the city's top three goals in its strategic plan.

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