Written by Michael Gilbert
Streets damaged by freezing temps
and snow to be fixed this fall
Last year’s historically cold and snowy winter may be gone, but it certainly isn’t forgotten.
And it may indirectly cause a headache or two in what is being called a “logistical nightmare’’ this fall for people who want to use 112th Place in Palos Hills.
The Palos Hills City Council awarded a contract to D Construction for the 2014 road resurfacing project at last Thursday night’s meeting. The road surfacing is needed because of damage caused by last year’s severe winter weather.
Palos Hills will pay the Coal City-based firm $148,000 to complete the project, but nearly $90,000 of that figure will be spent on crack sealing, which, according to Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley, was needed after the constant freezing and thawing that occurred this past winter.
“[Last winter] you had freezing and thawing and freezing and thawing and that tears the heck out of roads,” Weakley said in an interview following the council meeting. “You go up into northern Wisconsin, North Dakota or Minnesota and typically their road freezes in the winter and thaws in the spring, but here in Illinois, roads go through many freeze and thaw cycles and they do tear the roads up.”
A total of 21 city-owned roads are slated for improvements as part of this year’s project, Alderman Frank Williams said. Crack sealing will occur on 19 of those roads. The other two projects are the reconstruction of 112th Place west of Southwest Highway and the resurfacing of 98th Street from 88th Avenue to 89th Avenue.
The crack sealing is expected to start within the next week while the resurfacing and reconstruction will occur in the next 30 days, Weakley said.
Weakley expected the crack sealing work would cause “relatively no inconvenience” to residents, but that the reconstruction of 112th Place would be a “logistical nightmare” because all of the trucks that use the road. D Construction is required to notify residents in the area when the work is set to take place, Weakley added.
Palos Hills received five bids for the project ranging in price from $148,000 to $189,000, Weakley said. Although the city has never used D Construction before, Weakley said they are respectable firm with a solid background.
“They are qualified IDOT contractors and they are the contractors who are doing the LaGrange Road [widening] in Orland Park,” he said. “They’re a very big company.”
Website revamp coming soon
Alderman Rick Moore told the council and a handful of residents in attendance that the city’s new-look website is scheduled to launch on Wednesday. This will be the first major upgrade to the Palos Hills’ website in more than five years, he said.
“The No. 1 goal for the new site is to improve the navigation for visitors and make it easier to extract the information,” Moore said. “Basically we want it to be a venue for us to get information out to the residents in a quick and efficient way.”
A new feature to the website will be individual pages for each council member to post news and information about the ward they represent, Moore said. Department heads will also be given the same forum, he said.
The website will continue to offer agendas for upcoming meetings, information on the city’s chipper service and the ability to pay water bills online, Moore said.
The overhaul of the website will be completed entirely in-house, Moore said. Palos Hills IT Coordinator Bill Kinney and an intern from Moraine Valley Community College have worked since the spring to revamp the site, Moore noted.
“It was very cost efficient the way that we did it,” Moore said. “The new website is really going to enhance our communications with our constituents and residents of Palos Hills.”