Work near Diamond-Walnut intersection, Motor Fuel Tax highlight city council meeting

By Blake Schnitker on August 15 at 5:59am

Jacksonville aldermen discussed a number of items from motor fuel tax projects to reparations at Lake Jacksonville at last night’s meeting.

Starting off the night, however, Mayor Andy Ezard mentioned an important deadline for road project that will cut it close to the start of the school year.

Local drivers may have noticed some construction taking place near the corner of Diamond and Walnut, the intersection which leads to Jacksonville High School. While traffic near that intersection is currently limited to one lane, Ezard says it’s a top priority for the city to have everything cleared out and ready to go for the first day of school on Wednesday.

“Jack Cosner and myself have talked with the officials of the school district. Unfortunately, timing is everything, and we had a major sewer break at the corner of Diamond and Walnut and our crew, along with others that we hired out fixed that. It’ll be functional at the beginning of the school year on Wednesday. We appreciate people’s patience, those lines are some of the oldest in Jacksonville and it was a real deep area, it took a lot of man power to get to. It’s very important that we keep that intersection open, especially at the start of the school year,” says Ezard.

Also among the agenda items last night were a pair of resolutions regarding the city’s motor fuel tax project, as well as some of the work completed on Morton Avenue earlier this summer.

Jim Burke of Hutchison Engineering explains the motor fuel tax project, as well as the company that the city has chosen to oversee it.

“The council approved a motor fuel tax maintenance annual program bid for oil and chip for the city streets of Jacksonville. There are two items that we normally do, one is the oil and chip, the other is the seal. This is money that is appropriated every year to maintain the streets. That is a project that we put together and was given to Illinois Road Contractors, they were the low bidder and only bidder,” Burke explains.

As for the Morton Avenue renovations that took place this summer, Burke says that some of the additional work that was done as a part of the project will be paid for using money from the motor fuel tax.

“The Department of Transportation on Morton Avenue limits the amount of work they do on the local legs of the intersection. Any additional work is the responsibility of the local agency. They go back basically to the end of the intersection. There was some additional work that the city wanted to have done on the rest of those local legs up and down Morton. So in doing that, those costs are then passed off to the city. We maintain a cushion in the motor fuel tax program for such instances, so we use those monies from the motor fuel tax funds to pay for the improvements to those local legs,” says Burke.

Also at last night’s meeting, council members approved a TIF project to assist Tom Grojean in renovating property located at 229 South Main Street near downtown. The City Council agreed to help pay for half of the approximately $96,000 project for a total of approximately $48,000 in assistance.