FONTANA — Despite closures and postponements elsewhere, the estimated $8.5 million South Lake Shore Drive improvement project is staying on track, with crews planning to break ground April 20.
The largest public works project in recent village history will replace aging sewer systems along the road, with the installation of new curbs, gutters and storm-water storage systems.
While the village typically borrows about $2.5 to $3 million annually for capital improvement projects, it is borrowing more than triple that amount to complete the South Lake Shore Drive project in one construction season.
The village contractor for the project, Wanasek Corp. of Burlington, plans to break the project into four different phases, each covering about a quarter-mile stretch of the road.
The first phase of the project began April 13, with crews updating sewer infrastructure at the Abbey Springs Yacht Club — a renovation expected to be completed by April 21.
Detour signs and erosion controls were also installed.
On April 20, crews are planning to begin pulverizing parts of South Lake Shore Drive and Brickley Drive to replace water main and storm sewer utilities.
Village Administrator Theresa Loomer said one lane of South Lake Shore Drive will typically remain open during construction, and that residents living along the road will continually have access to their homes.
“There will be very few times that the road is shut down completely,” Loomer said. “All the detour signs will be up on Monday, so people know how to access.”
Included in the first phase of the project, Wanasek plans by July 10 to renovate the road from Shabonna Drive to Indian Hills Road.
Start and completion dates for the three other phases of the project, each covering about a quarter-mile of South Lake Shore Drive, have yet to be announced.
Wanasek representatives declined to comment.
Loomer said the project is currently on track to be completed in one construction cycle, despite closures and disruptions nationwide due to the coronavirus outbreak, also known as COVID-19.
“As it stands right now, everything is on its expected schedule,” she said. “Of course, that could change, just depending on what happened with COVID-19 and how that might affect things.”
While the project remains on track, it is unclear how the virus and business closures could affect subcontractors or suppliers involved in the project.
Fontana public works director Kevin Day said he is glad Wanasek has not encountered any delays due to the virus, and that it is good news that crews will begin work soon. He added that crews will be working outdoors with enough distance between each other to abide by social distance practices.
“It’s going to be spaced far enough apart that there shouldn’t be a concern,” Day said.
Although one lane will generally be open for residents to access their homes along South Lake Shore Drive, Highway BB and State Highway 67 can be used to travel around Fontana.
Day said the village has not received any complaints from homeowners along the road regarding the project, and he hopes residents are understanding of the importance of the construction once it begins.
“The road needs to get fixed,” he said. “It’s in pretty bad shape, so hopefully they understand.”
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