Hutchison’s Burke discusses proposed road project near South Elementary

By Blake Schnitker on January 26 at 2:30pm

The Village of South Jacksonville held an informational hearing earlier this week to discuss the road construction that will take place with the renovation of South School.

Members of the public, as well as Village Trustees, gathered to hear a presentation from Jim Burke with Hutchison Engineering, who’s been tasked with the road construction project.

Burke explains exactly what this project includes for the area around South Elementary.

“We met to discuss the Dewey Drive and West Street improvements as they relate to the improvements associated with South Jacksonville School. The Village will be completing improvements of both West Street and Dewey Drive from Vandalia around to Main Street. The improvements will include new curb and gutter, storm sewer, new pavement, new entrance pavement for South School and a new parking lot,” says Burke.

Burke explains why this road construction project is necessary in that part of the Village.

“Currently the roadway configuration around the school consists of about 30 to 36 feet of hot mix, asphalt or oil and chip pavement, no pavement marking really to speak of, and it’s hard to navigate through there during school hours, it’s not easily defined where you can and can’t park. There’s a lot of conflict, the intersection of Dewey and West Street for example does not have any traffic control, it’s just a horizontal curve. The proposed improvement will more readily define the actual driving lanes of the pavement, the parking lanes, the crosswalks, stop bars, and then we’ll be putting a new stop-controlled intersection actually at the confluence of both Dewey and West Street,” Burke explains.

He also discusses what the overall cost of the project will be, and how it will be paid for.

“Part of this project will be funded through general funds I believe the Village has and possibility of using some TIF funds. When the TIF was originally set up in the Village, the school was included so that they would be able to tap into funds whenever improvements were done to South Jacksonville School, and that dates back really to the initiation of the TIF in the area. The projected costs of the improvements of the project associated with what (Hutchison) is doing is about $1 million and will be a substantial improvement over what’s there now, it’s going to be a true urban section,” says Burke.

While the Village of South Jacksonville is handling the cost of the road construction project, Jacksonville School District 117 is taking care of the renovations to South Elementary School.