Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Considering repairs to worst roads

by Rob Ireland

June 16, 2011

Fontana — Roads plagued with potholes wear out the wheels and shocks of the vehicles that bump along them.

Fontana residents are tired of the road problems, and village officials are well aware of it.

During the Village Board’s June night meeting, Trustee George Spadoni asked Public Works Director Craig Workman to obtain quotes to repair what are viewed as the village’s four worst thoroughfares — Dewey Avenue, Stearns Road, Lake Street and Shabbona Drive.

Spadoni said the village could bond to repair all the roads and pay for it over time. Spadoni said the cost to repair the roads will add little to the village’s tax rate and residents would prefer to pay a little more on their tax bill than have roads in terrible conditions.

Biannually, the heads of municipal public work departments file reports with the Department of Transportation, which rates pavement conditions in their communities.

Workman last filed the form in 2009 and said Shabbona Drive was one of the roads that tops the list of those in need of repair. When he fills out the form at the end of this year, he expects Shabbona, Dewey, Stearns and Lake Street to be the lowest rated roads in the village.

In 2009, several other roads also received low ratings on the report including Dade Avenue, Forest Drive, Mayflower Lane, Mohr Road, Juneau Drive, Pottawatomi Drive, Sylvan Drive, Timber Trail Drive and Waubun Drive.

When rating roads that need repair, Workman also considers two other factors — traffic frequency and the condition of underground utilities. When those two conditions are considered, Workman said Shabbona is clearly in the most need of repair.

The condition of roads isn’t a new topic at Village Hall.

When the village’s Public Works Committee approved its 2011 budget, it included fixing Shabbona Road, but that expenditure was eventually sliced.

“We made a big mistake by not budgeting for it,” Spadoni said during the June meeting.

Road repairs became an agenda item after residents wrote letters to the board citing concerns about the condition of Stearns Road.

During the June meeting, the board reviewed three quotes to repair Stearns Road, which were between $66,000 and $75,000.

If the board wanted to move forward with just repairing Stearns Road, it would need to put the project out to bid. However, board members said the top road repair priority wasn’t Stearns Road.

“It is bad, but Shabbona is a lot worse,” Trustee Cynthia Wilson said.

What each road needs

Workman said repairs to Stearns Road are needed from Highway 67 to the Upper Gardens Road.

Problems with Stearns Road began when Highway 67 was under construction in 2006. During construction, traffic was detoured away from Highway 67 onto Stearns Road, Workman said.

In Workman’s 2009 report, the two portions of Stearns Road received 8 and 10 rankings, which is on a scale of 1 to 10. However, the condition of the road has quickly taken a turn for the worse.

Recently, new homes were built on the road and the heavy truck traffic expedited the deterioration of the street.

Workman said potholes are filled, but that is just a temporary solution.

Repairs to Dewey Street are needed from South Main Street to Well No. 1, Workman said.

Workman said Dewey Avenue and Stearns Road simply need repairs to the street, but Lake Street and Shabbona Drive also need sewer and stormwater replacement.

On Shabbona Drive, repairs are needed from about Sauganash Drive to the Castle Gate entrance. The water main on Shabbona needs to be replaced, Workman said.

Workman said he is seeking clarification from the Village Board on what parts of Lake Street they want included in the a cost estimate. According to a road condition report, two portions of the road, which were last paved in 1982, are in the most need of repair. However, the condition of the portion of Lake Street from Bay View Avenue to Kinzie Avenue was ranked high on the report.

However, Workman said in his opinion, the worst section of the road is near the beach house, which has heavy pedestrian traffic.

“It’s not safe for pedestrians,” Workman said.

Stormwater and sewer replacement is also needed along Lake Street.

Residents react

Residents near Stearns Road have written irate letters to complain about the street’s condition.

“The road is despicable,” Donald West wrote to the board. “In some cases, you have to drive on the other side of the road to miss the bumps.”

West went on to write that the road is highly traveled by cars, trucks and semis.

“Come on Village Board, come and inspect the road for yourselves,” West wrote. “It is as I have described it, a total disaster. This is an emergency and must be attended to now.”

Petersen empathized with residents and said he travels on Shabbona at least twice daily and he knows the road is in bad condition.

“I hate Shabbona. It is a mess,” Petersen said.