WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Wet Weather Slows Big Project

Macomb, IL – All the rain this year has made things tough for farmers. It's also putting a damper on Macomb's biggest road project.

The city hoped the multi-million dollar reconstruction of South Ward Street would be completed by the beginning of August. But Mother Nature rained on the city's parade.

"With 60 rain days so far, that's three working months that we've lost," said Walter Burnett, Director of Public Works. "That (rain) is the biggest hurdle we've had so far."

Burnett still hopes the project can be substantially completed by the time classes resume at Western Illinois University on August 23. He said that's possible if there is a stretch of dry weather.

"If we can get some decent weather, like we've had the last couple days, we'll move along pretty quickly," Burnett said.

He said the stretch just south of McDonough Street will likely be the final portion completed.

South Ward is being improved from Washington Street to Grant Street. The street will continue to carry one lane of traffic in each direction, but Burnett said the lanes will be wider than before. There will also be a center turn lane.

Burnett said the sidewalks will be well off the road to ensure the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

"The job itself is looking real good," Burnett said. "I think the quality is good. The drainage is working well where it's in place. I think the public will be very pleased with the final result, although it's been a struggle with our weather to get it in."

Burnett says the final price tag will be a bit over budget but he believes it will be close to the projected cost, which was $2.4 million. Some of that money will come from the state, some from the federal stimulus bill, and some from the city's half-cent sales tax for infrastructure.