The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that Jacksonville will receive just over $2 million from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program. The city applied for the money last summer.
Mayor Andy Ezard says the entire cost of the project will be about $3.5 million. He says the city will probably borrow the rest of the money for the project, similar to how it funded the South Main renovations.
“Those are [City] Council decision we're going to have to make," says Ezard. "I think the Council will want to go that route, however, the way the [economic] climate is we'll have to see. I would anticipate we will be borrowing more money to make sure we get North Main."
Hutchison Engineering was in charge of the latest downtown project to connect South Main to the square which was completed last year. Ezard says the firm will be in charge of the North Main project, as well.
Jim Burke, project manager at Hutchison Engineering, says construction could begin as early as the spring of 2014.
“We’ll begin with the extension of North Main to the square north toward Douglas will be all new pavement," says Burke. "There will be streetscape along that stretch much like there was on the South Main portion. We're also going to replace the curb, sidewalk and streetscape from Douglas to Lafayette. The Lafayette and Main intersection will be pushed further north...North Main you will not stop on when you come off the square. You will go straight over the railroad tracks and continue on north to Walnut where you'll stop."
He says traffic on Douglas and Lafayette would yield to traffic on North Main. The traffic signals will be removed at the intersections of Sandy and Douglas and Mauvaisterre and Douglas. Two-way stop signs would be installed similar to the intersections on College.
Burke says the municipal parking lots currently between North Main and the square would be reconfigured but will be retained. He says streetscape work will continue west on Douglas to include beautification around the Municipal Building.
The city will purchase privately owned land just north of the square to make way for the project.
Ezard believes the renovations would benefit areas of the city beyond downtown.
“On a socioeconomic level it opens up the North Main, the northeast and the north side of town," says Ezard. "It's good for our entire community that we're going to be able to do this."
If construction begins in the spring of 2014, it could be complete as early as the following winter.