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Some Rockford-area roadwork may halt without state budget

Rockford Register Star

Saturday, June 17, 2017  |  Article  |  Kristen Zambo

Budget--State (8) , Road construction, Construction (91a)

ROCKFORD — A $32 million rebuild of North Main Street from Riverside Bouelvard to Auburn Street is among road projects that, for the second year in row, could come to a halt if lawmakers fail to adopt a budget or a stopgap spending plan by June 30.

Work would stop on several other projects in the region that receive Illinois Department of Transportation funding, the agency said, including Illinois 75 through the village of Rockton from the Rock River to Illinois 2 and Harrison Avenue from Second Street to east of 20th Street in Rockford.

“Due to the General Assembly’s refusal to pass a balanced budget, the Illinois Department of Transportation loses its ability to pay contractors starting July 1,” according to a statement released to the Register Star on Friday by IDOT.

“While we are hopeful the situation is resolved before then, the department is notifying contractors that all construction work is to shut down on June 30. Contractors will be advised to secure work zones to ensure their safety during any potential shutdown.”

Roadwork was jeopardized by the Illinois’ budget impasse last year, too, but a stopgap bill passed in the final hour secured funding. Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to the capitol for a special session next week to hammer out a budget deal and end an impasse that could enter a third year.

The North Main Street reconstruction project totals $32.4 million, with $11.7 million already spent. The Illinois 75 reconstruction costs $9.4 million, of which $1.1 million has been spent. Reconstructing Harrison Avenue will cost $22.9 million, of which $12.2 million has been spent, according to IDOT.

Winnebago County Engineer Joe Vanderwerff said he is in the process of compiling a list of Winnebago County projects that could be affected, but that list wasn’t yet available. One example of such a project that might come to a screeching halt is work on Sumner Road bridge, he said.

However, “I’d probably have to stop all work on my projects,” he said.

In Boone County, County Engineer Justin Krohn said roadwork there will not be shut down because the ongoing projects are not state funded.

The potential shutdown of other projects in the state has provided a benefit to Boone County, though.

“We’ve already seen lower unit prices and lower bid prices because of the lack of (other) work. We’re trying to do as much as we can (while those prices are reduced),” he said. “It does appear to be a relationship between the low bid prices and lack of state work.”

Kristen Zamb 815-987-1339kzambo@rrstar.com@KristenZambo