UPDATED: VIDEO: That sinking feeling

UPDATED: VIDEO: That sinking feeling

Potholes have become such a problem that Urbana is closing parts of Windsor Road. Here's our video story and a way to report potholes you've had the misfortune of driving into.

Other ways to vent:

Tom's Mailbag

Letter to the Editor

Here's the latest story:

As the pavement continues to deteriorate, Urbana officials have closed the worst parts of Windsor Road, generally between Race Street and Philo Road.

"We're trying to get this situation back to where the road is functional. Right now, we have some serious issues. It's really falling apart on us," said Craig Shonkwiler, the assistant city engineer in Urbana.

Shonkwiler said the city will be working with a local contractor to lay a cold-mix patch on sections of Windsor. "That's a temporary measure until Tuesday," he said.

If a local asphalt plant opens in time, the city then hopes to put down a hot-mix patch, which is a superior product. Asphalt plants customarily close in December and reopen in the spring. The Illinois Department of Transportation also hopes to do hot-mix patching on area interstate highways.

On westbound Windsor Road, Shonkwiler said, the outside lane from Vine to just past Race Street will be closed. On eastbound Windsor, he said, the area closed will be from Vine to just past Philo Road.

Officials are instructing travelers on Windsor to proceed with caution, and they plan to place advisory signs dropping the speed limit from 40 to 30 mph.

Windsor Road has fallen victim to a chemical problem known as an alkali-silica reaction, which causes the pavement to disintegrate on its own. The city will need to tear out the pavement and rebuild the road, but that is expected to be a project in excess of $6 million.

The city has secured a $250,000 grant from the state to work on preliminary designs for the new road, and they're hoping that will open the door for more state money in the future. Until then, city officials say they do not have the money on hand for a permanent repair to Windsor.

Champaign working overtime

Champaign officials on Thursday said the pothole spike is larger than usual this year because of the colder temperatures and larger accumulations of snow. The city has assigned more people to its pothole crews, and they are working additional hours and on weekends to fix the streets.

Residents who report potholes to the city of Champaign should expect a 48- to 72-hour turnaround on their service requests. But with continued cold and wet conditions, pothole repairs may not be permanent, and it might not be until warmer and drier weather arrives that the streets are really fixed.

IDOT targets Monday

Weather permitting, IDOT says work will begin Monday on repairs to Interstate 74 and on Mattis and Springfield avenues in Champaign.

The IDOT work will begin on sections of Mattis and Springfield avenues and then move to I-74, working from west to east. The contract includes the counties of Champaign, Dewitt, Piatt and McLean.

This project includes hot-mix asphalt removal and replacement, paint pavement marking and all other work necessary to complete the construction of this project, according to IDOT.

Milling will begin on Monday at Mattis Avenue with hot-mix asphalt being placed on Tuesday. Possible milling also will be done on Springfield Avenue on Tuesday.

The I-74 work could begin later in the week.

The anticipated completion is March 8, weather permitting. The contractor for the $658,000 project is Cross Construction.

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joesuburbs wrote on February 20, 2014 at 10:02 am
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...highest tax rate in the state... worst roads in the state... worst leadership in Urbana... the absolute worst.

787 wrote on February 20, 2014 at 10:02 am

It seems like Urbana had the best luck in repairing it, when they sprayed in the hot tar, and then coated the hot tar with gravel.  The two would then mix and bond, making a fairly durable patch, that would also limit water infiltration.  

I'm not sure what the limitations are, and how warm the air temperature needs to be before they can patch it in this way again.

The "cold patch" strategy simply is not working.  Water gets in, and the concrete just crumbles even more around the patch, and the end result is an even bigger hole.

Time to move on to Plan B.  It is difficult to believe that Urbana can't get a grasp on this problem.  Ask IDOT what they've been doing, they have the same problem on I-39 north of Bloomington... ask someone at the U of I...

But be sure to attend one of the bicycle path meetings this week in Urbana.  That's apparently the top priority right now.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

How can the people appreciate the statues in the park on the southside of Windsor Road when the road is in such bad shape, and closed?  Will the bike paths be closed also?  If only some other financial source than Urbana could be found to fund the street repairs.  Maybe; a state grant can be found, or getting the county to pay for it.  It's all Carle's fault !

football jingoists wrote on February 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I'm not generally a fan of additional taxes, but supposing we enacted a temporary and focused motor fuel fee to pay for roads? If we had a $0.20/gal infrastructure fee (the price of gas seems to fluctuate +/- more than this by itself in any case) and assumed a 15 gallon tank size, 60k people filling up once per week would net a little over $9M in one year. Maybe have a website so people can see how much is in the fund and how much more is needed to finish the job. After the money is raised and the road is fixed, eliminate the fee.

787 wrote on February 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Do that, and people will stop buying gas in Urbana... 

But why don't you send that great idea to the mayor anyway?


football jingoists wrote on February 20, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Champaign has unusable roads too, so I would say have it apply there as well, but then I guess people would just drive to Savoy or Tolono or Indiana or whatever it takes to avoid helping to solve a problem. How about corporate naming rights for roads? State Farm Parkway has kind of a nice ring to it...

Martin1 wrote on February 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm
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I realize this story is about the potholes in Urbana, but does anyone know the story on 150 between Urbana and St Joseph ?? Talk about a rough road........

Tom Kacich wrote on February 21, 2014 at 8:02 am
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It's on IDOT reconstruction list for this year ... resurfacing and new shoulders for 6.2 miles from U.S. 130 in Urbana to Elm Street in St. Joseph ... $7.4 million.

Martin1 wrote on February 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm
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Thank you Tom

todsatter wrote on February 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Now Prussing is suggesting the use of Federal dollars (through CUUATS) to pay for repairing Windsor.  When Les Stratton suggested doing that a year ago in the Mayoral campaign, he was told that the Federal dollars couldn't be used for that.  Well, it seems now that he was right all along.  While Prussing was focusing on Olympian Dr. (which isn't even in the Urbana city limits) she was ignoring Windsor Rd., at least until now when it looks like it has been bombed.