More than 30 streets in Palos Hills are to receive crack sealing work this summer and another five are due for paving and patching work as the city last week approved the roads in the 2016 Motor Fuel Tax Street Project.
City officials voted unanimously April 21 to appropriate $475,000 in MFT funds for this year’s project, which was expected to go out for bid this week and could begin in around two months, according to Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley.
The city is estimating the work will cost around $468,880, but Ald. Mark Brachman (2nd Ward) said after talking with Weakley they were optimistic the bids will come in under the estimated cost.
A few of the roads slated for crack sealing, which is a preservation technique designed to prevent water from penetrating into the roadbed, are 97th Street from Roberts Road to 82nd Avenue, Wood Lane from 82nd Court to 100th Place, Charles Avenue from 103rd Street to 82nd Avenue and 104th Street from 81st Avenue to Roberts Road.
Weakley said public works rates all of the city’s roads on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being those in the best shape to 5 being those in the most need of repair.
“We classify the roads and then see how best we can make our money go,” he said of determining which roads are included in the annual project.
A majority of the money in this year’s MFT Street Project has been earmarked for crack sealing, Weakley said, as only about $100,000 of the $475,000 is expected to be spent on paving and patching work.
“[The roads designated for paving and patching] are little short segments of road that add up to about $100,000, but they are sorely in need of being repaired,” he said.
The roads slated for paving and patching work are 84th Avenue from 102nd Place to the intersection; 84th Avenue from the curb replacement west side to just south of 99th Place; 86th Avenue from 107th Street to Sunvalley Drive; 99th Place from 84th Avenue to the dead end and 96th Street from 87th Avenue to the dead end.
Palos Hills currently receives 19 cents from every gallon of gasoline purchased in the city. That money then goes in to the city’s motor fuel tax fund for various road projects. The cost of fuel at a given time has no bearing on the 19-cent figure, Weakley said.
“When people are buying lots of gas we reap the benefits,” he said.
Weakley said the influx of electronic and hybrid cars could “certainly” pose a problem for the MFT fund in the future, but as of now has not caused any issues or prevented the city from undertaking road improvement projects.
The crack sealing and paving work is not expected to create much of a nuisance for motorists, Weakley said.
“The crack sealing will take maybe a week to a week and a half at the most and the paving project will take around a week,” he said. “There will be very little inconvenience for drivers. We work with the traffic so there may be momentary closures but only for minutes.”
In other news, Ald. Joe Marrotta (4th Ward) reminded the council and a handful of residents in attendance that the fishing ban at Pleasure Lake remains in effect this year.
The 8.1-acre lake located at 10801 S. Roberts Road is only six feet at its deepest point and during the winter of 2013-14 froze solid, killing all of the fish. In October of 2014, the council approved an immediate and indefinite fishing ban in order to restock the lake.
Marrotta said there are “rumors going around” of people fishing at the lake but the police have been unable to catch the culprits.
“Every time our police get back (to the lake the fishermen) are not there,” Marrotta said. “There is evidence that people are fishing and they are just going to ruin it for everybody.”
Around 20 months ago the city spent $1,300 from its park development fun to purchase 1,500 blue gills, 325 bass and 300 catfish. Marrotta said those fish are doing well but they need time to grow and reproduce.
“We want to restock the lake and we’re in the process of doing that now but we’re just fishing it out before we get a chance to restock it.”
Those caught fishing at the lake can be fined, Marrotta said.