Oak Park to tackle $2.7 million in road, sewer projects

Budget restrictions defer two village blocks


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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

Click here to see a map of the projects.

Oak Park has found a way to undergo some road construction projects and find potentially long-term savings by using concrete on a case-by-case basis instead of asphalt.

Village Engineer Jim Budrick spoke at the village board meeting Monday to explain the logistics of Oak Park's recently approved roughly $2.7 million in street and sewer upgrades that will occur across town. The scope of the project consists of 18 blocks, roughly 2 miles, which means upgrading streets and replacing curbs on a majority of the blocks. Oak Park received a bid from Chicagoland Paving Company for $1.57 million but Oak Park decided to remove two blocks of the street to fit with its capital improvement budget, leaving the project at $1.42 million.

Two contracts were awarded Monday evening, which consisted of the local street resurfacing projects and the other was for water and sewer improvements. The water and sewer plans will have five blocks done, with two of those areas being done with concrete.

"These blocks need to be completely reconstructed due to the underground utility work that is taking place. We bid the job with the alternative of using concrete and felt this was a good alternative in the long term," Budrick wrote in an email.

Long term savings could mean $10,000 per street project because concrete has higher longevity than asphalt.

Trustee Ray Johnson expressed concern about removing two blocks for this year's plan, citing how streets left out last year didn't bode well for residents. He asked if there was room to look elsewhere in the budget to compensate this.

Budrick said the blocks removed this year don't affect as many residents and said the village realistically may not have time to get to them. (See the chart below for what streets will be seeing upgrades).

Trustee Colette Lueck also chimed in to ask how the village determines what streets need to be renovated and Wielebnicki said the village sticks to a management plan where his staff determines the longevity of each road in the village and its underlying infrastructure, such as sewer and water pipes. 

Questions were raised about why the village uses concrete as opposed to a more permeable material. Asphalt and concrete are about equally effective, Budrick said, but concrete results in long-term savings. In terms of other permeable materials, the village is already constructing more "green alleys," but overall the longevity of such materials is not as high quality yet to justify doing all of the village's upgrades in a similar matter, according to Budrick.

The other major capital project approved Monday was roughly $1.3 million to Geradi Sewer and Water Company for water and sewer main improvements. Geradi gave the lowest bid on the project. Oak Park used a competitive bid process for both the streets and sewers projects. The bulk of the project includes replacing water mains on and sewer main lining near Taylor (From Ontario to Erie); Highland (Harrison to Jackson); Van Buren (Cuyler to Harvey); Scoville (Roosevelt to Filmore) and Grove (Harvard to Garfield).

The breakdown of costs for each water main includes: $387,337 for the Ridgeland Common Water Main, $40,000 for consultant contract work for water main rehab and $349,080 for water main rehab projects under I-290.

NOTE: A previous version of this article had errors that have since been corrected. The person speaking at the board meeting was Village Engineer Jim Budrick, not Public Works Director John Wielebnicki. Also, the village is not using strictly concrete for the projects. Instead, concrete is used on select project and used on a case-by-case basis. The Journal acknowledges and regrets these errors. 


Oak Park street and sewer upgrades by wednesdayjournal

Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

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Posted: July 29th, 2013 5:17 PM

There is a reason they did the Dan Ryan in concrete.

Resident from Oak Park  

Posted: July 27th, 2013 4:08 PM

Concrete is far superior to asphalt. It requires little maintenance. It does not rut under truck and bus loads.It has a much longer life expectancy. The pavement continually gains strength with age. The test section on Marion was a "white-topping" pavement. The existing asphalt street was covered ("topped") with concrete to save money and use the existing road. It is noisy due to how the joints were placed. Future joints should be saw cut instead of tooled in. Both materials are recyclable.

Jack from Oak park  

Posted: July 27th, 2013 9:26 AM

At least now I am convinced that the comment sections after articles serve as vehicles for the undereducated to blather about.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2013 2:07 PM

Say, What??? You want to save money? Tell the board to unplug the heated sidewalks on Marion. ($25k a season for slush). It's always noisy where you live? 24/7? What, you live under a viaduct?

ASPHALT LOVER from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2013 1:35 PM

All this talk about concrete really burns my biscuits! Asphalt is obviously the superior choice! I love asphalt so much, I paved all the floors of my house with asphalt! WAY quieter than that NOISY concrete! When I walk through the kitchen for a glass of warm milk at night, all you can hear is the gentle, soothing crunching of asphalt under my slippers. Nothing like the loud thumping noise concrete makes!


Posted: July 26th, 2013 1:29 PM

Hank, I believe the blocks they were planning to wait to do were east-west streets with no houses, the engineer said...minimal impact that way? They do look at the overall street...curb replacement was mentioned as a major factor in the high cost on these bids. They do tend to try to time work for other sewer repairs, etc. on the street. Also haven't heard anymore about it, but rest of Jackson is supposed to start work this month, too, I think w/bike lanes added.

Hank Marquardt from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 26th, 2013 11:43 AM

When does this start? When will they announce the blocks that were deferred? Personal interest here -- my block is on the map, so knowing when it'll be torn up is useful ... and I must say there are far worse streets in OP than mine, though I don't know about the underground infrastructure, perhaps that's weighing more heavily.

What??? from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2013 10:31 AM

As a life-long OPer (55 yrs) I find it astounding that people claim to notice that concrete streets are noisier & more unsightly than asphalt. We live in a dense, tight rectangle next to a metropolis of 5M people, with 4 sets of train tracks rolling through town. It's ALWAYS noisy here! Always! 24-7. We don't live in a bucolic burb miles away from the unwashed masses. We are the unwashed masses. It's an urban area, folks. Deal with it. We should be celebrating the $$ savings. Good grief!


Posted: July 26th, 2013 10:12 AM

A great example of how great a street can look/feel is the section they repaved last summer on Home between Roosevelt & 290. It's beautiful and perfectly smooth. The village needs to keep all the roads looking exactly like it.

Lisa from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2013 10:03 AM

Obviously none of you asphalt loving people have driven on Augusta between Oak Park Avenue and Harlem Avenue, where they did some repairs. The asphalt replaced is just terrible and so uneven that it's a joke to drive your car over it. At least we have money to make repairs...if they didn't do repairs or have the money, there would be complaints about that too. Why don't you just move already. The grass is sooo much greener on the other side of the street.

MichaelO from Oak Park  

Posted: July 26th, 2013 9:58 AM

Concrete roads are unsightly, noisy, less comfortable and offer less traction. Damn it, board, wake up.


Posted: July 26th, 2013 9:18 AM

It was great to see the Board have a chat the other night about the future of "catching up" on numerous street projects. Sooner or later, we're going to have to find a way to budget for the miles and miles and miles of road in the village that...suck. It's time for us to have a serious, focused discussion about delaying some other spending and bringing the streets up to an acceptable state as Priority #1.

alberg from Oak Park  

Posted: July 25th, 2013 9:10 PM

The WORST newer street in town is Marion from Ontario to Chicago. It cost a lot more than asphalt, is bumpier and noisier. When new curbs were installed a few years ago, there was no effective Village supervision. I called and pointed out where large rocks were used instead of concrete and the concrete was honeycombed. The result was that they backfilled the areas so nobody could see the shoddy work instead of fixing it. Poor supervision is why the Holly Ct. Garage was falling down.

kathryn from oak park  

Posted: July 25th, 2013 7:47 PM

I also thought that paving a section of Marion St. in concrete years ago was an experiment. I've always thought it gave the block a cold, industrial look, and it's a fact that it's noisier. Maybe there's an argument for using concrete on the arterial streets that get high traffic volumes and lots of trucks. But how can the increased cost of concrete be justified (especially in this economy with our high OP taxes) on residential streets with primarily car traffic, bicycles and joggers?


Posted: July 25th, 2013 5:39 PM

I thought that the Marion St. trial a number of years ago from Chicago to Lake St. was the last we'd see of concrete streets. I figured that they determined that it was a bad idea since it seemed to be universally hated (at least by those I talked to) due to the noise factor. Not only are they noisy but there is just something ugly about them. Maybe it's all the unhidden oil and tire marks.

Sergio from Oak Park  

Posted: July 25th, 2013 5:29 PM

Concrete streets are inappropriate for urban areas. Utilities constantly cut open streets in built up neighborhoods. The cost of repairing them v. asphalt is extremely high. Plus concrete does not go as far as asphalt and OP has plenty of road work needed. Asphalt is more "green" too, due to recycled material used in its mix. Finally, concrete is MUCH louder when cars drive on them v. asphalt noise. The trustees should sometimes get a second opinion when staff has a new "plan."

Streets of disrepair  

Posted: July 25th, 2013 5:12 PM

A town home development between Wisconsin and Home on Madison and Washington blvd was built and there were 3 new streets created- Alexander Ln, Baldwin Ln and Lincoln Trail. Lincoln Trail has NEVER been PAVED since the construction. The other streets have been repaved with concrete as well as the alley ways that connect Washington and Madison. Can the Village please pave Lincoln Trail since it was torn up when the development was built over 7 yrs ago.

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