Champaign considers bike lanes for Windsor Road at I-57
CHAMPAIGN — City officials are seeking grant money to add bike lanes and sidewalks on Windsor Road that will match a state project to revamp the bridge that carries the road over Interstate 57.
The city's expansion west of the interstate has made Windsor Road a key traffic corridor, but according to city documents, a narrow road lacking bike lanes and sidewalks has left the bridge and the approaches on either side of it unsafe.
The city council could officially start the upgrade process if it approves a $414,418 contract with Sodemann and Associates, a consultant that would design the new road, when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
Officials have been anticipating the Windsor Road project for months, and a 4-cent-per-gallon gas tax that drivers started paying in May will cover the contract. They have applied to the state for grant money that would help pay for the cost of construction.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for the Windsor Road bridge itself, and the state already plans to rebuild the overpass. The project is expected to begin next April and likely last until November.
The state plans to replace the bridge with a wider structure that would include wider shoulders to accommodate bike paths and sidewalks, according to a city memo. The cost of the overpass project is estimated to be $2.74 million.
The city is responsible for the roadway on either side of the overpass, and officials hope they can build the Windsor Road upgrades at the same time the state is working on the bridge. The city's plan to add bike lanes and sidewalks is expected to cost $2.2 million. About 80 percent of that is eligible for grant money, which would leave the city on the hook for about $460,000.
In other business, the city council could approve the appointment of the Rev. Larry Lewis to the board of commissioners for the Housing Authority of Champaign County. Area governments each send representatives to the countywide housing authority board, and Lewis would replace current chairman Al Anderson, whose term ended at the end of July.
Lewis would be stepping into a debate about the city's plan to level and redevelop the Bristol Place neighborhood. The housing authority has spent the past weeks grappling with a decision over whether to give displaced Bristol Place residents a higher priority in the distribution of Section 8 vouchers.
The vouchers, worth an estimated $1 million in rental assistance, are among a limited number that are available throughout Champaign County.