By Bob Balgemann


Message boards are going up, reminding residents, businesses and visitors that one of the village’s biggest road projects – improvements to Alpine Road – is about to begin.

Construction should commence on or before June 1 and be completed early in October, except for traffic signal work at Gladys and Alpine. “We’re seeing significant delays for steel and other equipment,” Village Engineer Chris Dopkins reported. “Therefore, the signal equipment itself may not arrive to the site until late October.”

The affected area is from Juniper Lane to the south, at Schnuck’s grocery, to Rose Lane on the north, near Illinois 173. It’s a major undertaking and at varying times during the summer, motorists are going to be encouraged to stay away from Alpine Road. 

Engineer Dopkins recently talked with members of the administration and finance committee (A&F) about the various contractors who had submitted bids for the multi-million-dollar job.

Five general contractors, three subcontractors and one equipment supplier (traffic signals) obtained proposal documents, with three contractors submitting bids. Those quotes were $2.616 million from Rock Road Companies Inc.; $2.678 million from William Charles Construction Co.; and $2.687 million from Curran Contracting Inc.

The village engineering estimate for the project was $2.921 million.

Engineer Dopkins made note of the $70,000 difference in pricing among the three bidders. “They were pretty well grouped together,” he said of the candidates. “So the contractors saw the same plans and information and bid accordingly. Thankfully, it was a few hundred thousand dollars under our estimate, so we’ve got a little wiggle room.” 

“The concrete work came in a little higher than we projected,” he added. “But offsetting that were a number of things, mostly the asphalt. All things added up to $355,000 under (the asphalt) estimate, while concrete was $140,000 over estimate.”

This is a complex project, he said, with a lot of related items, more so than usual. “We usually try to have between 30 and 55 items; this time we have 120. We’re trying to combine some of them to limit the number we have to keep track of.”

Rock Road Companies, the low bidder, had been the successful company in five of the last six years for Machesney Park’s resurfacing program, Dopkins said. “They’ve done a nice job for us,” he added.

Scope of the Alpine Road project includes:

* Repair and patch the existing concrete pavement.

* Remove and replacing curbing that has deteriorated.

* Make storm water management system repairs as needed.

* Replace the old traffic light signals at the Gladys/Alpine intersection.

A&F members had no comments or questions about the recommendation for Rock Road to do the work. Later that night the village board gave final approval to the contract award as part of the consent agenda, without comment and under one motion that included several other items.

Still on table 

Also the evening of May 3 the board left on the table Ordinance 18-21, allowing a variance from freestanding sign base and height regulations and sign area restrictions at Toni’s Pizza, 6941 N. Second St. The issue revolved around replacement of a historic business sign that was destroyed by a wind storm during the summer of 2019. The property owner removed the sign in July 2019, after being told do so by the village.

The planning and zoning commission (6-0), planning and economic development committee (4-0) and village staff all recommended denial of the variance request.

As explained by Planning and Zoning Manager Carrie Houston, the proposed replacement sign was identical to the one that was removed two years ago. It does not conform to village sign regulations regarding the base and height, and would exceed the total sign area allowed at the North Second Street property.

Additionally, the previous sign appeared to have been located within the public right of way, and the village could not allow the replacement to be located at that spot again, she said.

After discussion, Trustee Jake Schmidt asked if anyone was interested in tabling a decision until May 3. “I don’t want to vote ‘no’ because of a lack of information,” he explained. “I’d like to see a mock up of what they’re projecting, of what they’re looking to install.” He made a motion to that effect, which was seconded by Trustee James Kidd, and approved, 7-0.

On May 3, Village Administrator James Richter II asked for the variance to remain on the table. He said he had been in contact with the applicant, who needed more time to consider their options and to create the drawings requested by Trustee Schmidt.

After voting 6-0 with one absent to approve the administrator’s request, Trustee James Kidd asked for a further delay since he and Trustee Joe Seipts would be unable to attend the May 17 meeting.

“We’re stuck in Robert’s Rules (of Order) because there has been a vote to table it (agenda item) again,” Village Attorney Tom Green explained. He added it would be best to have yet another motion to table at the May 17 meeting. “This is a very reasonable request, but we have to follow that procedure,” he said.

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