Federal funds allocated for Danville bridge work

Federal funds allocated for Danville bridge work

DANVILLE — Almost two years ago, Danville city officials closed the South Griffin Street bridge on the south edge of the city, because the structure was not sound.

But now federal dollars are available to replace it, if that's what aldermen decide to do.

Since June 2010, the 77-year-old concrete, one-lane bridge between Vine Street and Texas Avenue has remained closed to all traffic, forcing the approximately 600 vehicles a day that once used it to find alternate routes.

The city closed it on the recommendation of state officials and an independent engineering firm, after serious deterioration was noted in 2010. The city had been inspecting the bridge more closely since 2006 when progressive deterioration was noticed during a routine inspection.

Now, up to $1.5 million in federal dollars has been allocated through the Illinois Department of Transportation to replace the bridge, but the city would have to provide a 20 percent match in addition to covering the cost of engineering and any right-of-way work.

City Engineer David Schnelle said the hope is that the engineering would be done in-house, so city officials are estimating that between $380,000 and $600,000 in local motor fuel tax dollars would be necessary to cover the local match, engineering and right-of-way costs.

A resolution will be considered during the city council's public works committee meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the municipal building, 17 W. Main St., Danville. The South Griffin Street bridge is one of several projects aldermen will consider at the meeting.

Schnelle said the full agenda of projects represents a lot of good opportunities for the city, specifically some good grant opportunities that city officials have pursued and are now paying off.

— Fairchild Street overpass: Aldermen will consider approving the funding arrangements for this major project that's scheduled to be bid this spring with construction slated for later this year. City officials have come to an agreement with the Illinois Commerce Commission and the railroads. There are several rail lines that the overpass will span. According to Schnelle, the railroads have agreed to contribute $910,000 toward the approximately $20 million project. And the ICC is contributing $12 million in addition to a $3 million federal grant and $7 million from Illinois Jobs Now funding.

— Voorhees sidewalks: Aldermen will consider authorizing the purchase of small chunks of property along Voorhees Street, allowing the city to extend the sidewalk from CSX railroad tracks to the Wendy's restaurant, 1111 E. Voorhees St. According to public works officials, there are a large number of pedestrians walking in the street in this area, and there are no sidewalks. The long-term plan is to extend sidewalks further east to Griffin Street.

— Bowman Avenue: Aldermen will consider allowing city officials to apply for a federal Tiger grant to fund a shared-use path from English Street that would follow Jackson Street south to Danville High School then east on Fairchild Street to Bowman Avenue, then north on Bowman to Winter Avenue. The grant would also include planned street improvements along Bowman Avenue from Crestview to Winter.

— Danville High path: Aldermen will consider authorizing city officials to apply for another source of funding through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement program, which could be used to build the shared-use path in the area of Danville High if the Tiger grant application is not successful. The city was awarded ITEP funding for the Lincoln Park shared use path that will connect Jackson and English streets with Lincoln Park and Logan Avenue.

— Lincoln Park shared-use path: Aldermen will consider setting aside the construction funding for the Lincoln Park path. The city was awarded the $1.2 million ITEP grant, but needs to move forward with buying slivers of property along the pathway before bidding the project. City officials said it property acquisition moves forward quickly, the project could be bid as early as August.

— Jackson Street parking: And, aldermen will also consider a recommendation from city administration to limit on-street parking on Jackson Street to night-time hours and holidays. Last year during a public meeting, residents gave mixed reaction to completely banning on-street parking along Jackson.

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