DANVILLE – The same firm that conducted a beltline study starting 17 years ago, a $67,700 Northeast Corridor Improvement Analysis about five years ago and a Grade Separation Study for $22,178 about three years ago is now being considered to perform a Bowman Avenue Corridor Study.

This $56,895 study with Hanson Professional Services of Springfield is to “create a cohesive plan incorporating findings and goals of the Beltline Study, the Grade Separation Study, the Quiet Zone Study, the Northeast Corridor Study and elements of the East Main Street corridor plan,” according to city officials.

The Danville City Council’s Public Works Committee voted 5-2 in favor of the agreement. The full city council will vote on the agreement next week.

Funding for the Bowman Avenue Corridor Study comes from the Danville Area Transportation Study, which receives state and federal funding.

Danville Engineering and Urban Services Director David Schnelle, who also is DATS director, said these are planning dollars that cannot be used for construction or other uses.

The city and DATS have looked at east-west traffic, including east of Winter Avenue at Bowman Avenue, potential impacts to Bowman and opportunities of developing land east and north of the city. DATS has studied the desired land use and transportation uses and needs of the East Main Street east-west corridor and has determined the need to study land use and transportation needs for the efficient movement of traffic and freight and on the north-south Bowman Avenue Corridor from Interstate 74 to West Newell Road.

An East Main corridor plan was completed by the Lakota Group of Chicago for $69,751 and the Quiet Zone Study was conducted by URS Corp. of Decatur for $40,000.

Schnelle said the Bowman corridor study will be a two-year study. The second phase is expected to require less funding. It will be negotiated based upon findings of the first phase.

Schnelle will manage the project in lieu of a local match in cash to accomplish the work.

Hanson is expected to present a no-build scenario and two other transportation modifications, one of which is expected to include relocation of Illinois State Route 1 to Bowman Avenue.

The originally studied beltline was for a highway to bypass the city on the east side to connect Interstate 74 with Illinois Route 1 north of Danville.

The proposed beltline route, to run parallel to Bowman Avenue but farther east, ran from West Newell Road, hooking south on Bowman Avenue, going east on Poland Road and then turning south through farm fields, east of the railroad tracks east of the airport, stretching south between Daisy Lane and Brewer Road and hooking up with Interstate 74 and Perrysville Road.

The Federal Highway Administration approved construction of a new Interstate 74 interchange between the Bowman and Lynch Road exits years ago.

Some residents have voiced concerns in the past about the beltline’s need and the potential to hurt existing businesses, the impacts on their properties and increased noise and traffic.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer has previously said the city “could never do the project without significant federal or state funding.”

The city didn’t win a $45 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant for the proposed beltline to connect the city’s north end to the interstate.

DATS officials more recently have discussed: a beltline middle south section from Main to Voorhees streets, beltline middle north section from Voorhees Street to Winter Avenue, Voorhees and Jackson street intersection improvement, and beltline south section from Perrysville Avenue to Main Street. The beltline section costs range from about $7.2 million to $29 million.

Schnelle said the Bowman work would be less expensive than the beltline project.

City officials again are hoping for grant funding, such as the Fairchild Overpass received.

Aldermen asked why city staff can’t do the study. Schnelle said the city doesn’t have enough staff to do the project with other things they are working on or the architectural planning and other expertise.

Also Tuesday, at the Public Works Committee meeting:

• Aldermen postponed action on an east-west alleyway vacation near 1217 E. Fairchild St., Dale’s Place, for Gregory Filicsky. Some residents voiced concerns about closure of the alley hurting access to properties. Filicsky has proposed gate access. He wants to cut down traffic through there. He said they’ve found drug paraphernalia in the alleyway. He also wants to build a storage garage and have more parking.

Ward 7 Alderman Lloyd Randle made a motion to postpone the vote until further review. The item will be brought back next month.

• Heard Ward 1 Alderman Rickey Williams Jr. question costs for the pocket park on East Main Street across from the former Cannon Elementary School. Schnelle said the work will cost about $150,000 for the concrete, masonry wall and improvements. Community Development Block Grant infrastructure improvement funding and a $16,000 Danville Mass Transit grant to assist with the bus shelter is funding the project.

Williams said he thinks the beautification projects are great, but with the city looking to raise more fees and taxes, he wonders if it is wise to spend money on this project. He said it wasn’t necessary. “It just seems outrageous and ludicrous to me,” he said.

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