Engineering Agreement Reached for West State Street Revitalization, Construction Likely to Start This Summer

By Benjamin Cox on January 25, 2024 at 9:49am

The Jacksonville City Council took one of the first steps in completing the final leg of Downtown Jacksonville’s turn around.

Efforts to move the city’s downtown from the Urban Renewal landscape of the 1960s to its current state began more than two decades ago, with official construction to the present-day traffic flow and cityscape starting in 2009.

Since then, the city has reopened and rebuilt streets in and around the square in phases, with last year’s third phase completing East State Street.

Mayor Andy Ezard says that the final leg, which is likely the most difficult one, will begin down West State Street beginning this Spring: “It’s a good feeling. However, there is a lot of work to be done on West State. That’s kind of why we kept it as the last phase. There’s just a lot of underground work. There’s a lot of utility right-of-way and so many obstacles that we were geared towards that. We’ve got a good track record on how we have done the other phases, so moving that forward, we felt comfortable to move along down West State. People have been asking. We were able again to I.T.E.P. funding and hit the home run on that. It’s full steam ahead this Spring, and once it is all said and done, I think people will really like the look of it.”

The more than $200,000 in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program funding is expected to cover the cost of construction inspection and engineering to be performed by Hutchison Engineering. The landscape is expected to be similar to the other phases, with an installation of a new arch over the street.

West State Street was expected to be on a delay to 2025, and a bridge replacement project on South Main Street was supposed to take place this year. Ezard says that the timeline was shifted: “First, we were going to do the South Main Street bridge down by Taco Gringo on this timetable in the Spring. We switched course. We’d like to accomplish West State first and then tackle the rest of South Main from College Avenue down towards the bridge. That’s naturally going to fall after the West State project. In these construction phases, I see the West State schedule being very aggressive this Spring to completion, and then, start right away on the South Main project to the bridge.”

The state letting for the West State Street project will begin in April with construction expected to start sometime this summer. Ezard asks that residents, business owners, and motorists remain patient as they have with the previous phases while construction is ongoing. Ezard anticipates some disruption to the traffic flow in and around the Morgan County Courthouse at some point, and says the city will handle it as best as possible when the time comes.