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Rezoning and interested parties could mean growth on DeKalb roadways

DeKALB – As city staff continue to set their sites on improving theInterstate 88 corridor along Peace Road on the south side of town to attract businesses, staff now are eyeing road improvements and the possibility of widening portions of Peace Road for traffic.

The city approved a contract with Wills Burke Kelsey Associates Ltd., based in Aurora and St. Charles, for a study to see whether improvements are feasible on portions of Peace Road south of Illinois Route 38, after staff learned they were eligible for some state and federal funds. Under the proposed plan, that section of Peace Road that goes south of the interstate and runs perpendicular to the Chicago-West and Park 88 business parks, would be widened. The city budgeted $110,000 in fiscal 2019 for the study, and $220,000 in fiscal 2020, which will come from the motor fuel tax fund, documents show.

City Manager Bill Nicklas said the project is estimated to cost $10 million, and the city could receive state and federal funds to cover it, although nothing has yet been set in stone. The city must complete the study in order to qualify for the funds.

“Engineering and consulting firms have been talking about this for a couple of years,” Nicklas said Tuesday. “When we were renegotiating the Park 88 redevelopment agreement, it was important for us to know what the approximate overall costs would be [for the construction].”

The area in the city’s south side has been the topic of much discussion over the past few months. The City Council in July passed a rezoning agreement for a 102-acre parcel of the industrial park known as Park 88 – which houses Nestle, Panduit, the Target distribution center, 3M and Goodyear.

City staff have hinted at two major international companies, a data center and a food distributor, setting down roots in the ChicagoWest Business Center. And on Sept. 23, the City Council increased shuttle service to that area through a new Route 19 line.

The feasibility study for Peace Road will be done in conjunction with the DeKalb Township and DeKalb County, documents show.

Engineering studies will include evaluating physical improvements to the portion of the road from Route 38 to Gurler Road that would be most appropriate, traffic levels, any necessary land acquisition and environmental impacts. The consulting company will provide a map with a 20-year forecast for the area.

Nicklas said that as more traffic flows through that area of the city because of a greater amount of jobs, work is all the more necessary.

“It’s a county highway,” Nicklas said. “It’s something that was planned before we heard about these two companies [coming into ChicagoWest], so it’s something that would fit into all that as more traffic takes to the road.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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