Two Urbana Road Projects Suspended Due To State Budget Impasse
The failure of the Illinois General Assembly to pass a budget by today (June 30) has led to the suspension of two major road construction projects in Urbana. Work will likely remain halted until a budget or stopgap budget is approved.
The state-bid projects that have been halted by the Illinois Department of Transportation include:
• MCORE Project 1: Reconstruction of Green Street between Wright Street and Busey Avenue, an $8.3 million project. Most of the Green Street pavement has been removed and vehicles won’t have access until the street is fully reconstructed. Major work in front of the Illini Union had been slated to be completed by Aug. 25, just three days before University of Illinois classes resume, but that timetable is now threatened by the shutdown. Pedestrian crosswalks could be constructed across Green Street if the shutdown is an extended one, but city engineers have concerns about allowing pedestrians through a construction zone.
• Lincoln Avenue Extension From Saline Court to Olympian Drive, a $4.3 million project. The shutdown comes at a particularly inopportune time for the Lincoln Avenue extension project, as contractor Stark Excavating Inc. was scheduled to begin pouring concrete next week. Lincoln Avenue was scheduled to be completed by this fall, but the completion date could be pushed into 2018 if the shutdown is extended. The one-mile-long project calls for creating a modern two-lane road with shoulders leading up to the intersection with Olympian Drive. The $12 million extension of Olympian Drive from Apollo Drive in Champaign , including a bridge over the Canadian National railroad tracks, all the way to the intersection with Lincoln Avenue, was completed in 2016.
Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin said the extended budget impasse is hurting Illinois cities and the entire state.
“The state of Illinois must pass a budget,” she said. “We’re on the brink of going into a disastrous third year without a budget or a plan to address fundamental problems such as funding for public schools, pensions, infrastructure, 911 service and social services.
“The construction project shut-down is one more shameful casualty of the government’s failure to serve the people of Illinois,” Marlin said.
Public Works Director William Gray said the shutdown will add millions of dollars in additional costs to projects across the state.
“I don’t think the public realizes with the hundreds of construction projects statewide shutting down that this stoppage will add millions of dollars of additional costs to state and local agencies,” he said. “These needlessly spent dollars will result in less future road and bridge work. It is truly a shame.”
Work will continue in Urbana on the $3.1 million Airport Road West reconstruction project from Willow Road to Cunningham Avenue, which is a locally-bid project. That project includes some state funding and city officials say they will have to decide by July 15 whether to continue to use local tax increment financing dollars to pay for the project or also shut it down.