URBANA — A public hearing on a proposed $7 million highway improvement project to the Dewey-Fisher Road has been scheduled for Nov. 20.
The informational meeting will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Champaign County Highway Department building, 1605 E. Main St., U.
The 11-mile-long refurbishing of the two-lane road is from Saber Drive by the High School of St. Thomas More on the south to U.S. 136 on the north. Although no timetable has been established, county highway engineer Jeff Blue said work probably won't begin until the summer of 2015.
The work will include wider driving lanes, 4-foot paved shoulders, rumble strips and safety improvements at a number of intersections, including U.S. 136 and Hensley Road.
"The road will be a little wider and we'll have that paved shoulder," Blue said. "We've got a lot of farm implements that run up and down that road, especially at this time of the year, so they'll have a little more room to move over and get out of the way of oncoming traffic. We're just trying to make it a safer route for everybody."
It's unlikely the work can be done sooner than 2015, Blue said, because he has to acquire approximately 80 small parcels of land for the widening of the highway.
"We're only talking about 10 feet outside of the existing right of way, so we're talking about buying a tenth of an acre here and three-tenths of an acre there, but when you've got that many people you've got to contact and try to get through the process, we don't think it's likely we'll do all that, that quickly," he said.
Blue said a recent widening of the Monticello Road was comparable, but that he had to contact only about 40 separate landowners then.
The project will be funded with a combination of county, federal and state money: $3 million in county motor fuel tax funds, $2.2 million in federal transportation funds, $855,000 from a federal safety grant and $900,000 from a state safety grant.
The improvement to the Dewey-Fisher Road is the biggest county project for the foreseeable future, Blue said.
"This is a big one for us," he said. "We're usually spending a million or two on our projects."