Prairie Path Underpass on Elmhurst's Capital Project Wish List
St. Charles Road work, more money for street repaving also part of five-year plan.
The continual pursuit of grant funds for major capital projects by the city of Elmhurst could result in sending the Prairie Path under York Road.
City Manager Jim Grabowski presented the project as part of the five-year capital plan Monday night, and city staff would like to begin engineering work.
Public Works Director Mike Hughes explained that a change in state law requiring cars to stop for pedestrians means that runners and cyclists no longer wait for the cars on York to pass before crossing the busy road.
While recent road work on York allowed the city to install more signage at the crossing, Hughes and Grabowski said it was time to separate the crossings in a more permanent and safer way.
The city has secured about $300,000 in grants for engineering studies, said Grabowski, adding there is a potential to get up to $1.76 million in grant funds. The city would contribute about $1.4 million to the project.
Some aldermen expressed surprise that such a large project was in the city’s sights. Public Safety Committee Vice Chairman and 1st Ward Alderman Paula Pezza wondered why the idea had not yet come before her committee. Interim Mayor and 5th Ward Alderman Scott Levin said the underpass plans would likely need to be looked at by both the Public Works and the Public Safety committees.
Third Ward Alderman Mike Bram asked why this project had surfaced now when so many other projects, including stormwater mitigation, loomed ahead.
Fifth Ward Alderman Chris Healy, however, said the Prairie Path grade separation had been talked about—and requested by residents—for years.
Stormwater work also is in the five-year plan, as city staff look to begin work on the redirection of water in the southwest part of the city to a new detention tank at the wastewater treatment plant.
Along with moving $500,000 into the capital fund from the general fund, which should give the city leeway to repave a few more miles of road in 2013, the city plans to spend $580,000 to resurface St. Charles Road from the railroad crossing near York High School to Route 83. More than $350,000 of this project will come from grant funding.
Bram and Pezza also have asked the city to look at installing porous paver bricks when city-owned parking lots are reconstructed. Grabowski and Hughes reported the costs of doing so are still quite high, however. Using pavers at the City Hall parking lot, which is next on the list for repaving, would cost about $650,000 because of the need to construct underground storage on the site, as well as new curbs and gutters. As currently planned, the City Hall lot only needs asphalt work at a cost of about $35,000, Hughes reported.
Details about each project in the 2013 capital budget are available on the city’s website. The public hearing for the budget will be held in March, with budget adoption set for the April 1 City Council meeting.
Because the city is moving to a calendar-year fiscal year, the 2013 budget will only cover eight months, from May to December. The 2014 budget will then begin the first full fiscal year of the new system.