By Bob Balgemann


City council has approved some overlay projects for various streets around town, using motor fuel tax (MFT) funds. But the 8-0 vote, with two absent, drew comments at both the Feb. 12 committee of the whole meeting and, subsequently, at the Feb. 19 city council meeting.

First – the committee.

Blaine Street from Madison to Jackson is on the list for resurfacing. But Alderman Ron Brooks said he thought that stretch of Blaine needed more than an overlay. “Those semis going through there are tearing up everything,” he said. “Why throw more money in there? I think the pavement needs to be 12 inches thick to hold them.”

Plans are in the works to do some patching to prepare for the overlay, Public Works Director Brent Anderson replied. Overlays usually extend a street’s life by 7-10 years; hopefully 10-12 years, he added.

But Alderman Brooks said there is no curbing in that area and the semis are driving through residents’ yards. “You get a little rain and they’re off the road,” he said of the big trucks, “so you have ruts running through there. They break the edge of the pavement right down. I think it’s (overlay) a waste of money, myself.”

Alderman Marsha Freeman said Alderman Dan Snow previously made a good point when he suggested that rather than do Distillery Road, there are areas of North State Street that need attention.

North State definitely needs attention, Director Anderson said in agreement. But if you do that you’d be eliminating more than Distillery Road from the project list for this year.

He explained that North State Street is divided into three areas, including North State Street, South State Street and the downtown area. Downtown has been completed. South State is in line to be done and he’s hoping to get federal funding for that through the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning (RMAP). North State will be on the list for next year as the main road to be done, from Fairgrounds Road to Madison, through the streetscape area.

Smaller list

“Our overlay list for next year (2018-19) will probably be a lot smaller because of the quantities needed for that (North State Street) area,” he said.

Alderman Mark Sanderson brought up another matter, which was evening out the improvements done in each of the city’s five wards.

“I see the Fifth Ward (which he represents) is getting less this year,” he said. “I hope that will even out in the future.” He agreed that some of the roads in that ward getting attention this year are among those he wanted to have done. But he added, “We’ll take one for the team this year so we can get some improvements done for the major roads.”

Anderson said the city is at the point that it should be doing $700,000-to-$1 million worth of overlays every year, to keep up with the work that needs to be done. “This year I’m able to scratch $500,000 out of MFT. We’ve been averaging $300,000-$400,000-$500,000 a year, which is about one-half to two-thirds of what we should be doing each year.

“Now, unfortunately, we’re at the point that we’re at the ‘worst, first’ scenario. I try to do a little bit in each ward. There are streets that need it in each ward. So what we’re seeing is the roads we think

For complete article, pick up the March 14 Belvidere Daily Republican.

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