Evanston construction projects to resume as planned

Jerry Lee, Summer Managing Editor

Two Evanston construction projects will no longer be cancelled as officials had previously expected now that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a stopgap budget approved Thursday by the Illinois House and Senate.

The Dodge Avenue Protected Bike Lane Project, which involves the construction of a bike lane, and the Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay Corridor Project, which is a larger-scale improvement project of the intersection and surrounding area, are expected to restart next Tuesday to minimize disruption for the holiday weekend, said Laura Biggs, Evanston’s capital planning bureau chief.

City Council received notice from the Illinois Department of Transportation last Tuesday that the Emerson/Ridge/Green Bay project and the Dodge Avenue project would be shut down on June 30 “due to the majority party in the legislature’s failure to pass a balanced budget,” according to a statement from IDOT.

Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) was among those who had expressed disapproval with the agency’s action at the City Council meeting last Monday.

“We need to let the people in Springfield know that they all need to do their jobs,” Wilson said.

Neither of the projects are actually funded by the state of Illinois, but are instead funded through federal agencies or the city of Evanston itself, Biggs told City Council last Monday. However, IDOT manages these sources of funding and pays contractors to conduct work, and then asks for reimbursement, she said.

Earlier, because the IDOT didn’t have the budget authority to pay the contractors, the department had to begin shutting projects down, Biggs said. However, the stopgap budget has now authorized the IDOT’s budget for the next six months.

“(We’re) happy that the General Assembly and the Governor have agreed on something,” city manager Wally Bobkiewicz told The Daily.

Nora Shelly contributed to reporting.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @jaewookjerrylee