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Planning to fix village roads

Streets will worsen if Fontana doesn't increase repair spending

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October 19, 2011 | 07:40 AM
FONTANA — Even if the village spent more than $500,000 in road repairs each year, the quality of the community's streets would continue to decline.

By spending $645,000 a year, the village would avoid seeing the quality of its roads deteriorate.

On Monday night, the Village Board endorsed a road project plan that should maintain the quality of the village's roads and relieve some of the infrastructure concerns. The motion was approved on a 6-1 vote, with Trustee Peg Pollitt opposed. Although the board approved the plan, it hasn't determined what streets will be repaired.

During a special Oct. 13 Village Board meeting, Terry Tavera, an engineer with Ruekert-Mielke, and Public Works Director Craig Workman presented the trustees with three different options to maintain the roads during the next five years.

The conditions of the village's roads — specifically Shabbona Drive, Stearns Road, Dewey and Lake streets — have raised concerns with residents and public officials in the last few months.

In July the Village Board debated borrowing money to fund repairs on the worst roads and completing other maintenance projects.

However, in August, instead of agreeing to borrow funds for road repairs the village spent $6,000 to pay for Ruekert-Mielke to create a pavement management plan.

On Monday night, the board approved a motion to endorse the alternative that calls for spending $6,45,000 a year on road repairs and to bond out $3.5 million to help fund some of those costs.

On Tuesday morning, Village President Arvid "Pete" Petersen said the dollar figures aren't written in stone. Petersen said there are a lot of unknowns yet with the road projects, including which roads will receive improvements.

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Also, the village's financial planners will have to develop a plan to bond out the money for the road projects, which will then need to be approved by the board.

Conditions of the roads

Every two years, Workman provides the state with a Pavement Surface Evaluation Rating, which rates the roads on a scale of one to 10, with one being a road that needs to be reconstructed and a 10 a road the requires no maintenance. On average, the village's roads are rated seven.

The majority of Fontana's roadway have a PASER rating between six and eight and about 17 percent of the roads have a rating of five or lower.

In the past few years the village has spent tax increment dollars to repair roads within the TIF district. These repairs have increased the average rating of a road from a 6.8 to a 7. During Tavera's presentation, he said the village could spend more money annually on maintenance to roads, which would increase the useful life of these streets.

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Tavera said if the village performed more maintenance work on its roads, the average life expectancy of a street would increase.

Three options for road repairs

The first option is for the village to repair its worse roads on an annual basis. With this option, the village would repair about 1.6 miles in the next five years with an annual cost of $590,000, which is about what the village spends annually on road repairs.

If the village selects this option, the village's annual PASER rating would drop from a 7.0 to a 5.7 within the next five years.

"With this option you can never get caught up," Tavera said.

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A second option would cost the village an additional $55,000 a year. Like the first option, this one would require the village to repair its worse roads first, but it also would include $55,000 in maintenance work.

If the village approves the second option 20 percent of the village's roadways would be crack filled each year. Another 5 percent of roadways would be treated with a "slurry seal coat."

With this plan, each road in the village would undergo some patch work every five years.

Tavera said a benefit with this option is that residents would see some work being done to their street on a regular basis.

With this option, the village would see the average condition of its roads drop slightly from a 7.0 to 6.9.

If the village wanted its average PASER rating to improve, it would have to fund a more costly option.

With alternative 3, the village would spend about $1.9 million a year on road repairs. This alternative would include all of the improvements the first two plans, and would also include an additional four miles of road reconstructed.

With the most expensive option, the village would see the average condition of its roads jump from a 7.0 to 7.8.

During Monday night's board meeting, Trustee George Spadoni made a motion to approve this option but it failed on a 4-3 vote. Village President Arvid "Pete" Petersen and trustees Bill Gage and Spadoni voted in favor of it.

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