ROBERT E. JONES, MAYOR
April 2, 2003
Senator James Inhofe, Chairman
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Dear Senator Inhofe:
Winter Avenue and the Beltline are two projects that are important to the safety, traffic flow, and economic development of Danville, Illinois.
Reconstruction of Winter Avenue will create improved safety through signalization of Bowman and Winter Avenue, removal and widening of the single lane bridge, removal and widening of the one lane underpass, and addition of a joint use path to accommodate pedestrian traffic. A large number of people use this road as an informal bypass to avoid higher traffic on Voorhees and Vermilion streets to access this area of Danville.
The scope of the Winter Avenue project would include replacement of a single lane railroad underpass, replacement of a single-lane bridge over Stoney Creek, reconstruction of one mile of Winter Avenue, and signalization of Winter and Bowman Avenue. Traffic counts have continually grown and are currently 8,000 vehicles per day. Residential developments are west, north, and south of the area. Winter Avenue was constructed as a rural seal coat roadway with ditches. A seal coat roadway is not designed for the amount and type of traffic Winter Avenue experiences. On the western end of the project, a hill prevents appropriate sight distance as vehicles approach the one lane structures. The one-lane bridge and one-lane underpass are approximately 150 feet apart. Currently there are no accommodations for pedestrian traffic along the roadway, underpass, or bridge. East bound traffic must yield at the one lane structures.
A major community park has recently been developed on land owned by the City and Danville School District #118 along the south side of the road. We have an eight field soccer complex (serving over 1,800 youth), six softball fields for youth and adults and most recently we constructed an "AMBUC'S Playground for Everyone". The total private donations (cash and in kind services) for these parks exceed $1.5 million.
The City has hired URS for Phase II Design for this project. They are working with CSX railroad for an acceptable design to meet the City's and CSX's interests.
Until a final design is completed, a highly accurate cost estimate is not available. The anticipated range for construction is $7 - $10 million, highly dependent on what requirements and accommodations are necessary for CSX railroad. The City has lined up $1 million of FAU funds and $600,000 in Illinois First funds from the state. Currently the $600,000 has not been released, but the City has a signed agreement for the project.. This $1.6 million would pay for reconstruction of 1/3 mile of Winter Avenue from the eastern city limits to the eastern soccer entrance. The remaining portion includes the hill and one-lane structures. The City has been pursuing ICC funding and has a verbal commitment for 60% of the cost of replacing the one lane underpass at the CSX railroad. The current estimate for the underpass is $3.1 million, thus hopefully $1.86 million of ICC funds. The remaining $3.54 - $6.54 million is currently not funded.
The County would also like to improve Winter Avenue from the city limits east to short of the state line. They experience a similar level of traffic, but without the local turns to destinations along the route. The improvements for that portion of Winter Avenue would be $2 million.
The Danville Beltline is being studied by Hanson Engineering. An Access Justification Report (AJR) is currently being reviewed by FHWA. After FHWA's consideration of the AJR, Hanson Engineering will complete its study and report its findings. Preliminary findings support a new interchange with 1-74, a new roadway that opens up additional area for economic development, and ties to other existing facilities such as US 136, Illinois Route 1, Vermilion County Airport, and existing local arterial streets. Without the beltline, the existing available area for growth will be quickly taken up, and the increasing traffic at the existing Lynch Spur interchange would have to be rebuilt, also requiring reconstruction of a bridge on 1-74 at significant costs.
The beltline would be built as warranted with the first phase expected to include a new access to 1-74 and tying to local roadways % miles to the south and 2 miles or more to the north. The final report is expected from Hanson Engineering this year.
Robert E. Jones, Mayor