The largest public works in River Forest history got off the ground when trustees awarded two contracts related to what is called Phase Zero and approved a $600,000 loan from a local bank to help pay for the work. 

Bolder Contractors of Deerfield received the construction contract totaling $975,598. Christopher Burke Engineering will oversee the work on Phase Zero for a cost not to exceed $69,800. Community Bank of Oak Park and River Forest will loan the village $600,000 so the work can be conducted this fall. 

The Northside Sewer Separation project – on the radar screen for decades – will start at the end and work backwards, according to Village Administrator Eric Palm. Phase Zero will consist of installing an outfall, a 96-inch diameter sewer that will run from the cul-de-sac at Keystone, across Thatcher and end at the Des Plaines River. Construction is expected to be wrapped up by the end of November, Palm said.

“This is the beginning of a very long process; it’s somewhat of a momentous occasion,” said Palm. “Every report that came back said we didn’t have enough capacity in the system, so we are separating them.”

This might not seem like there’ll be shovels in the ground, Village President Catherine Adduci said, but it will be important to get Phase Zero done now.

“I applaud Eric and the administration for being aggressive and creative on this,” Adduci said.

Construction on Phase Zero was to begin later this year when the village receives a state loan for the entire project. But to wait until then, construction crews would have had to close Thatcher again. The roadway – the western-most throughway in town – already is inaccessible at North Avenue as a result of a state-funded reconstruction of the bridge there.

So to take advantage of the closing, the village decided to do the work now, with $1 million set aside to cover it – half for engineering and half for construction. The problem was in order to fund this and not put any financial pressure on the water and sewer fund, where all of the money would come from, staff recommended seeking a $600,000 loan to help bridge the gap.

The village sought proposals from three local banks, Community Bank, MB Financial and Forest Park National. Trustees selected Community Bank because it offered a 2.2 interest rate fixed for 10 years, Palm said. Palm said he did not anticipate that it would take 10 years to pay the loan off but the flexibility would be there if needed.

Bids for Phase One will go out in the next couple of months. Phase One will encompass an area from Greenfield on the north to Division on the south, Harlem on the east and Thatcher on the west. Construction will start sometime next spring and take a year or more to complete.

Join the discussion on social media!