The Monroe County Board met in regular session Monday, with the primary topic of conversation being roads.
Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger gave commissioners a review of upcoming highway department, road district and other municipal improvements that are to be completed in the next five years. He also gave commissioners an overview of how future roadway projects fit the county’s comprehensive plan.
Notable plans for 2022 include work on a signalized pedestrian crossing at the intersection of Route 3 at HH Road and Country Club Lane in Waterloo.
Metzger said the project, which is a joint venture with the City of Waterloo, could begin in June but those involved are waiting for plan review by the Illinois Department of Transportation.
He noted that some environmental impact issues may arise because the project is close to a gas station that has underground storage containers.
The project will cost a total of $300,000, with $210,000 coming from an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program federal fund.
The biggest ticket item for 2022 is a project to asphalt Maeystown Road shoulders from Waterloo city limits to the first Mill Street intersection in Maeystown. Metzger clarified the bypass that continues around the west side of Maeystown to near the fire department and park area would not be included in this project.
The project will cost an estimated $1 million, but $900,000 is coming from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.
Work on Maeystown Road is also tentatively set to begin in June, Metzger said.
Similar shoulder work is slated for 2023 on Floraville and Bluff roads.
The Floraville Road project will include road resurfacing and will begin at Waterloo city limits and end at the Monroe County line.
Bluff Road shoulder work will be done in two phases. The work in 2023 will be from DD Road south to Hanover Road. The northbound lane shoulder will be completed in 2024 on the same stretch of road.
The total for both projects combined will be $1.2 million, and will be budgeted through the local highway funds and county motor fuel tax.
Other work on Bluff Road in 2024 will be a bridge replacement over Carr Creek near Columbia. The project will use $1.3 million of federal funds through the Illinois Special Bridge Program, with an expected $400,000 from local sources.
After updating the commissioners on upcoming projects, Metzger went through his “transportation plan” of projects currently unfunded but part of the future of county transportation options in the next 20 years.
One project that has existing funding but no plan of action is a Rogers Street extension project. Metzger explained there will need to be further planning as well as an agreement with Waterloo before any action would be taken.
The extension, shown on a map provided to commissioners, would take Rogers Street north to the county line near Gilmore Lake Road.
The extension has been a recent topic of conversation, as it offers a way to eliminate 90-degree turns on Country Club Lane to a Waterloo-annexed subdivision via an intersection.
Also off the Rogers Street extension, Metzger described an extension of Rose Lane that would connect to an intersection at Route 3. He estimated the project would not be ready for consideration until 2026 at the earliest.
Other ideas on the map include an extension of Osterhage Drive in Waterloo south to meet Route 156, as well as a road connecting HH Road west of Waterloo Walmart to Route 156 west of the Monroe County Fairgrounds.
Metzger also brought up a project to mitigate flooding on Bluff Road at HH Road near Fountain. Two solutions exist. One idea is to raise the entire roadway of Bluff Road in the area. The other is to build a levee near the area and re-route HH Road over the levee.
Metzger noted the levee idea would be much less expensive and commissioners advised him to pursue that course rather than raising Bluff Road.
Metzger said he is waiting to hear back from State Sen. Terry Bryant about support for the project, adding former Sen. Paul Schimpf was in favor of repairs.
The board also approved a transfer of $56,000 from the motor fuel tax fund to supplement an increased cost of road salt.
Metzger explained the salt had already been rebid when prices came in too high, but the latest prices are still over $20 more per ton than the average per ton last year.
Last year, a ton went for around $43, with this year’s cost being between $63 and $72 per ton.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Oak Hill Administrator Kim Keckritz gave commissioners an update about the senior care and rehabilitation center.
Keckritz said the census at the senior care center and assisted living apartments is still down but is trending upward, noting there have been admission restrictions due to staffing issues.
She added that Oak Hill is performing “very well” compared to national trends in occupancy rate and that the Evergreen Pointe rehabilitation center numbers are good, with census being “over budget.”
The county board will hold a special meeting Nov. 30 to approve its entire 2022 budget.
Commissioners met with Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein and Elizabeth Smith-Thomas to finalize budget items that will be approved during a special meeting Nov. 29.
The biggest issue was determining which items would be put in the budget and which would be put in as an item for American Rescue Plan Act funding.
The budget is expected to be placed on the county website this week for public review before being approved at the end of the month.