Officials get street-level view of repair needs
It's a dubious distinction but Evanston officials have marked Washington Street in south Evanston for special attention on next year's street repair list. | Bob Seidenberg~Sun~TImes Media
Updated: February 4, 2013 6:07AM
EVANSTON — With 190 lane miles and over 2.7 million square yards of pavement, officials have to be a little picky when they consider which streets to repair in any given year.
Officials weigh a number of factors before slating which streets should go on their list for next year’s repairs, Public Works Director Suzette Robinson told the City Council at their Dec. 10 meeting.
The factors include the availability of funding for the work, whether water main replacement needs come into play, concerns of residents, and potential conflicts with other city projects.
With the 2007 five-year street improvement program completed in 2012, officials also added new criteria deciding which streets should go on the next five-year program.
Under one change, officials took aldermen for drive tours in their wards.
“This is the first time we did it,’’ said Robinson. “I think it is very helpful to see the condition of the streets through the eyes of the guys that maintain them.”
Aldermen thought so too, several speaking up about the value of the exercise.
Officials have a number of options in deciding what upgrade is appropriate for streets, Robinson said.
Their rehabilitation strategies might include minor patching and crack filling, grinding and surface overlay, spot curb and gutter repairs, which fall in the maintenance category.
Bigger projects include full reconstruction and the replacement of water mains.
Officials list of streets marked for reconstruction next year fall call for work in every ward.
The year’s biggest reconstruction project, projected at $2.5 million, is targeted for Davis Street from Chicago Avenue to Benson.
Davis is to hold the western route of the city’s protected bike lane. Crews worked on the eastbound lane on Church this summer.
That project is dependent on outside funding, said Robinson.
Most of the street projects cover one to two blocks. However, officials have marked out Washington Street in south Evanston for four blocks of reconstruction.
One portion of Washington, stretching between Chicago Avenue and Dewey, Robinson told council members, “is probably in the worst condition in the entire city of Evanston.”
Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th, who has been pushing for work on the street, didn’t take offense. In fact, she joined Robinson, glad to see work would be done on the street.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th, said a portion of Asbury Avenue, in her southern ward should also go on the list.
The street is under state jurisdiction. State-contracted crews, at the urging of the city, came out and did some maintenance work on the street earlier this year, Robinson said.
She said the city is on a priority list, to work in conjunction with the state, in work that probably wouldn’t take place until 2016.
That isn’t “tolerable,” said Rainey. “We’re going to have some special money in our coffers to do something there.”
“When we went down there, it was like a roller coaster,” she reminded Robinson. “It’s like a series of minor speed bumps.”