By Patricia Bogumil

Interim editor

The need to fix problems with state Highway 20/83 as it travels through the village is something that Waterford Village Board members, plan commissioners and state engineers all agree on. “We know we need to move forward with something because the road is in such bad shape,” said Village Administrator Rebecca Ewald.

But village officials are also aware of the need to take the time to explore a number of possible options and not move forward with a hasty decision, she said.

“Be diligent in responding in a very timely fashion,” she added.

At a special Nov. 28 meeting, local leaders discussed with state engineers three main options recently presented by the DOT for Highway 20/83 work that might begin as early as 2017.

These include a plan to just resurface the highway without replacing the Fox River bridge, as well as a couple of plans to resurface the highway while also building a new bridge.

Most discussion Nov. 28 focused on exploring options that might be possible under  the DOT’s “Alternative 3 Proposal,” said Ewald.

Alternative 3 as currently presented would reconstruct four travel lanes 1,000 feet west of Buena Park Road to the bridge, reconstruct the bridge at its existing width, allow parking on both sides of First Street from Main Street to River Road, and allow parking on both sides of Main Street from Jefferson Street to the bridge.

Initial projected cost is $8.58 million (with $87,200 as the village’s cost share, offset in part by $237,600 in state funds for project enhancements such as landscaping and decorative streetlights).

Within the framework of Alternative 3, village leaders emphasize certain points to be shared with state engineers, according to Ewald.

• The DOT needs to design its project in accordance with the village’s “Safe Routes to School” document that identifies safety deficiencies in the village for children walking to school, as well as adult pedestrians.

• The village is also interested in exploring whether or not it might be able to “piggyback” (for cost and design efficiency) some work along East Main Street to Highway 36 that is outside the current DOT project scope. The village, not state, would pay; no cost projection has yet been developed.

• The DOT needs to design its project to minimize disruption to local businesses. Keeping the Fox River Bridge open to traffic would help. The DOT agreed to have structural engineers examine the bridge to see if that will be possible.

• Local leaders and the DOT need to discuss truck traffic through the downtown and whether or not there is an alternative route for the trucks to use.

• The board is also exploring whether the village can be compensated for traffic control officers paid to work the corner of Main and First streets during most morning and afternoon rush hours.

In 2012, the village has budgeted $27,700 for providing traffic control at that point on the state highway.

A follow up meeting between village leaders and the DOT will be set up in December, said Ewald.

• In other village business conducted Nov. 28, the board:

• adopted the 2012 budget and set the property tax levy as earlier presented.

• delayed a decision on bid awards for an upcoming $1.1 million storm water improvements project being fully funded by a federal Community Block Development grant.

Bids were opened Nov. 14. They are currently under review and may be ready for a decision at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting.