In a 7-2 vote, with Aldermen Richard Corzine and Jerry Mizell voting against, the Metropolis City Council on Monday gave its approval for the design phase of the reconstruction to begin.
Joe Matesevac, with the city's engineering firm Engineering Inc., explained to the council that its vote allows the company "to actually start coming up with a scope for this project and doing the cost estimates so we can present that to you at a Water, Light and Street committee (meeting) with total projected project cost and design costs."
The primary funding for the construction of the project is federal money, coming from a Federal Department of Transportation fund called Service Transportation Urban, or STU. Through STU, money comes to different municipalities and counties with a certain population. The money accumulates until it is used, but it can only be used on federal aid routes; 12th Street meets that qualification.
STU is an 80/20 grant — 80 percent coming from the federal fund and 20 percent coming from the city. For now, Matesevac said, the city has $400,000 in STU money available. The city's match, or $100,000, can be made through the city's Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds, which means it won't have to come out of the city's general fund. When combined, the STU money and the city's match mean that $500,000 is currently available for the project.
"If it's more than $500,000, the city will have to decide if it wants to add more money or scale back the project, " Matesevac said, adding that the project's design funding can come out of the city's MFT funds.
The council learned at its May 14 meeting that the 12th Street reconstruction project was placed in the federal coffers for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Matesevac said construction is slated for July 2013 through June 2014, which is why preliminary work is beginning now. He noted that more meetings will be held in the coming months to finalize the project.
Part of the preliminary design stage is pinpointing what section of 12th Street the reconstruction project encompasses. Matesevac said the plan is to go from Catherine Street to Pullen Road, but emphasized that depends on the finances available and the bids received.
"Currently (12th Street) is a variable width — anywhere from 20 feet to 22 feet depending on where your measuring," Matesevac said. "It's going to be widened in the neighborhood of 4 to 5 feet because our plans are to widen the driving lanes to 24-foot wide and then have a paved 1-foot shoulder on each side and a rock 1-foot shoulder on each side."
Mayor Billy McDaniel said the reconstruction project will "be a big asset to the Third Ward. I believe everybody understands how bad that road is. You don't realize how much traffic is on that road until you get out there on a given day and try to stand out there and work. There's a tremendous amount of traffic on that road."
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation website, 12th Street's average daily traffic is 6600 vehicles.
"It is one of the busiest streets in the city besides Highway 45," Matesevac said.
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