Route 3 improvement project plans solidify

Pictured is the view of Moore Street in Waterloo as the road project continues. (Kermit Constantine photo)

The much anticipated Route 3 improvement project in Waterloo appears to be very close to starting up.

Waterloo Director of Public Works Tim Birk told the Waterloo City Council on Monday night that the same company selected earlier this year for phase one of the more than $20 million project has also been accepted for its low bid on phase two.

The Illinois Department of Transportation on Friday accepted the low bid from Illinois Excavators of Ruma for phase two of the project in the amount of $17,590,033. Birk said Baxmeyer Construction of Waterloo was the next lowest bidder at $17,706,244.

IDOT still needs to go through the official approval process with Illinois Excavators on phase two, Birk said, but said Friday’s action was positive in that “it moves things forward and locks money in for the project.”

Illinois Excavators also beat out Baxmeyer for phase one work with a bid of $3,651,791.

Birk said the first phase involves the relocation of Vandebrook Drive to connect with South Market, as well as other project work to Library Street.

It is Birk’s understanding that Illinois Excavators will start moving equipment into the area next week to begin phase one.

As for phase two, Birk said that could possibly start late this fall, but it’s more likely to start next spring.

The overall project involves 4.3 miles of Route 3 from North Market Street to Vandebrook Drive. The current two-lane highway will be reconstructed into a four-lane thoroughfare, with turn lanes or flush medians added as required.

There will be a stoplight installed at Illinois Avenue, and a 10-foot-wide shared use path for walkers and bicyclists along the new stretch of road.

In addition, the county’s first roundabout will be constructed just west of Route 3 at Route 156 and Lakeview Drive. This roundabout will come within 40 feet of the existing Monroe County Farm Bureau office.

Another project feature is construction of a “noise wall” behind a dozen or so homes on Mark Drive that sit along Route

In 2009, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a $31 billion capital spending bill, providing funds for dozens of metro-east road projects. Included in this was funding for Route 3 improvements in Waterloo.

Birk also gave an update on the Moore Street project in town on Monday, saying there is just about 100 yards of concrete roadway left to pour.

He reiterated that the contract completion date is October, and said actual road work did not start until last October.

The city first had to relocate utilities such as a gas line, pow- er lines and water and sewer prior to construction, he said. Then, the discovery of three large underground storage tanks at the intersection of Third and Moore required removal per the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Still, Birk said he expects the contractor, Illinois Excavators, to be finished with the concrete road work sometime in August before finishing up smaller odds and ends.

Also on Monday night, city zoning administrator Jim Nagel said there has been initial interest expressed by a business into moving in the former Dollar General building on North Market Street. No other details were divulged.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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