Urbana to relocate funding for roads

On Monday, the Urbana City Council will vote on a resolution to amend an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to allow the city to obtain $51,000 for road construction.

If passed, the money will be reallocated from the City of Champaign’s South First Street Project, which fell under budget to the reconstruction of Windsor Road in Urbana.

The Windsor Road reconstruction may cause traffic issues, said Ward 7 Ald. Diane Marlin, but it will only be a temporary inconvenience that will have long-term benefits for Urbana residents.

David Gehrig, Ward 2, said the formalities involved in making the agreement will not hinder how the council wants to utilize the funds.

“The basic idea is about moving some money into something that can be used,” said Gehrig.

“Because most of the money is coming from the state. We have to make agreements with the state; we still want to use it (the money) for stimulus purposes.”

Urbana would claim half of $102,000 in leftover First Street project funds, which is money that originated from the federal stimulus package.

The Windsor Road reconstruction project is 24 percent complete, but has temporarily halted construction during the winter period. The project will potentially resume May 1, unless the spring weather allows the contractors to begin at an earlier date.

The reconstruction of the intersection will be completed by the fall of this year.

The draft resolution for this construction project falls under “the long-range planning document for roadways,” said Dennis Roberts, Ward 5.

He added that it is “for future roadway planning to align with federal funding dollars.”

This draft resolution is part of the long-range transportation plan that contains different plans for roadway expansion, like the extension of Florida Avenue, Olympian Drive and I-74, Roberts added.

Brandon Bowersox, Ward 4, said the city has been working on widening and resurfacing Windsor Road, and the plan will transform it from a two-lane roadway into a road with four lanes.

“It’s a pretty significant road project. I’m really excited about Windsor Road getting finished,” Bowersox said.

“It will really help connect people. It will also add wide sidewalks for walking, jogging, and biking. The roadway itself will make travel quicker and safer for people. I think everybody will be happy when this is done.”