EAST PEORIA — The only semi-paved way into the riverfront Burger Barge restaurant on Access Road 3 in East Peoria is easily passable, but still fraught with hazards. Potholes. Cracks. Bumpy cold patches. Sunken shoulders.
It's about to get fixed up and smoothed out.
"That's awesome," manager Rachel Kamp said Tuesday upon hearing of the impending repairs. "Customers are always complaining about the road. It'll be great to have a nice smooth access to the restaurant."
East Peoria's Public Works Department has released a list of the 16 most messed up streets in the city. The list was developed in a collaboration with public works, street superintendent Rick Semonski and city engineer Patrick Meyer. The streets on it — a mix of residential, commercial and industrial by-ways — are among the top priorities for repair.
"People will have different opinions about what the worst streets are," public Works Director Dennis Barron said Tuesday. "But this list is based on a three-part evaluation and is also based on available funding."
A timetable for repair is still being worked out, but Barron hoped there's money and time enough to complete the job by the end of this year's construction season. The work will be put out to bid this spring and construction will be done throughout the summer and fall.
Roadwork has been a prominent component of this year's budget process. Following spending cuts in every department, the city still faced a deficit of more than $500,000 in a budget that contained almost no money for capital expenditures. After spending upwards of $2 million a year on street maintenance in the past, the budget proposal included just $450,000 in 2018.
Earlier this month, the City Council eased the money crunch by approving a half-cent increase in the city's sales tax, an amount that will raise about $2.6 million a year.
The tax won't be implemented until July 1. Proceeds won't begin to arrive in the city until October. Where the city planned to spend $450,000 of Motor Fuel Tax funds for the entire street maintenance budget this year, it will now spend that amount on the 16 top priority streets. Additionally, $150,000 more from sales tax revenues and $100,000 for street paving and repair brings the total street budget to $700,000.
"It still keeps us behind," Barron said. "But it is better than we started with. We plan on using $450,000 of the MFT funding to get as much done as possible of this list."
Not every street on the list is in bad enough shape to draw the ire of frequent motorists. Dixon Fisheries Inc. is at the end of Access Road 4 off of Illinois Route 116.
"It's not that bad, really," owner Jim Dixon said Tuesday. "I think it made the list because of the sheer volume of traffic on it every day. Even so I think it's great, wonderful, that the city is planning to repair it."
Other problem spots, not on the list of 16, will get attention this summer. Public Works plans to do its own concrete repairs on Pinecrest Drive, Highcrest Road and Thunderbird Lane using city employee labor.
"If we do the work in-house on those we can save some money," Barron said.
One of the streets on the list getting attention this summer is Carver Lane, off of East Washington Street. One resident of the street, J-tec Industries, was happy to be included.
"Carver Lane is the lone access road for the East Peoria Avanti's, Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store, MH Equipment, Play All Day Dog Daycare, Supply Chain Services , Goodwill Logistics, Fon Du Lac Mini Storage, Rogers Group Stone, Sand and Gravel, and J-tec," Jon McKee, communications director for J-tec, said Tuesday. "Any investment that the city of East Peoria is planning to make which will help pave the way for the growth and access to J-tec, or to benefit our many Carver Lane commercial, industrial and small-business neighbors is most welcome."
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at email@example.com. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.