It's construction season

Ann Gill

Road construction season is shaping up to a busy one locally as projects get underway to improve a portion of Route 113 through Diamond and the replacement of a bridge over the Kankakee River.
    Construction crews have mobilized to begin the long awaited projects.
    Diamond Mayor Terry Kernc reported on Monday that the Route 113 reconstruction project slated to get underway this week was initially delayed due to rain.
    “Keep in mind that weather plays a role,” the mayor said.
    The project will widen Route 113 from the entrance of Sunshine Garden Center east to Frontage Road allowing for the installation of a center turn lane. Additionally, the project will include the extension of a bike path on the north side of the road and complete necessary drainage improvements.
    According to the mayor, the work is expected to start at the Claypool Drainage ditch on the east end of the roadway and move west.
    The reconstruction project is being funded in part through a federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) grant administered through the Will County Governmental League. The grant covers 80 percent of the construction cost with the balance of the funding coming from village road funds and contributions Kernc secured from adjacent property owners.
    The $1.4 million construction project, a continuation of a prior STP project that upgraded the roadway from Will Road to the garden center, will be completed by D Construction. The project is slated to be completed by mid-October.
    Village officials believe the improvements will help spur economic development in that area.
    Kernc is aware the project will cause some traffic backups and apologizes in advance for any disruptions.
    An alternate travel route is to take Will Road south to Reed Road where motorists can access Interstate 55.
    D Construction has also been contracted by Will County to replace the Will Road bridge over the Kankakee River. The bridge is located just north of the covered bridge and Cottage Road.
    The $2.56 million project is expected to take approximately seven months to complete.
     According to the Will County Division of Transportation the work consists of replacing the bridge deck, guardrail improvements, substructure repairs, slopewall repairs, re-decking of the structure, steel painting and wing walls.
    The bridge closure will impact 11 Unit 1 school students on four bus routes.
    “The result of the closure will require about a 15 to 20 minute earlier pickup time in the mornings and a later drop off time in the afternoon. These students will be first on in the mornings and last off in the afternoon,” said Sandy Rakes, the district's director of special populations and transportation.
    The detour around the bridge work is Pine Bluff Road (Lorenzo Road) east to I-55 north, I-55 north to Arsenal Road, turn left at the stop light onto west Frontage Road (marked I-55 south), turn right onto Frontage Road after one mile do not re-enter I-55, take the Frontage Road south to Blodgett Road and follow Blodgett west to Will Road.