Summer infrastructure improvement projects will be in full swing soon in River Forest following action by the village board June 27.

By a 5-0 vote, the board approved spending more than $3 million in infrastructure construction contracts, including more than $2 million to construct green alleys. Trustee Ken Johnson did not attend the June 27 meeting.

The majority of the cost of the green alley contracts, $2.1 million to Copenhaver Construction Inc., is for construction with the remainder, $116,648 to Thomas Engineering Group, for engineering services related to the project.

Contracts for other infrastructure improvement projects include $503,290 to Schroeder Asphalt Services Inc. for the 2022 street improvement project, $213,687 to Visu-Sewer of Illinois LLC for the 2022 sewer-lining project and $80,262 to David Concrete Construction Co. for the 2022 curb and sidewalk replacement program.

The village also awarded a $79,758 contract to Chicagoland Paving for the 2022 street patching program, $54,410 to Denler Inc. for the 2022 asphalt pavement crack sealing project and $46,800 to Denler for the 2022 pavement preservation project.

Although the village typically reconstructs one alley per year, under the accelerated alley improvement program, four alleys were reconstructed last year and three already this year with plans to reconstruct 11 more alleys before the middle of 2023.

Plans call for three alleys to be reconstructed in June and July, six in July through November and the final two in April and May 2023. The remaining alleys are all south of Chicago Avenue and east of Park Avenue.

Alleys to be reconstructed in June and July are between Monroe Avenue and William Street from Chicago Avenue to Oak Avenue; between Lake Street and Holly Court from William to Bonnie Brae Place; and between Holly and Quick Avenue from Clinton Place to Bonnie Brae.

Alleys to be reconstructed July through November are between Monroe and Jackson Avenue from Chicago to Oak; between Monroe and William from Oak to Quick; between Lathrop Avenue and Ashland Avenue from Hawthorne Avenue and Linden Street; horseshoe alley between Central Avenue and Lake off Lathrop; T-alley between Vine Street and Madison Street and between Ashland and Lathrop; and T-alley between Madison and Vine and between Park Avenue and Franklin Avenue.

Alleys to be reconstructed in April and May 2023 are the T-alley between Madison and Vine and between Ashland and Franklin and the curved alley between Franklin and Park and between Vine and Washington Boulevard.

Some of these remaining alleys experience storm water issues and some have pavement in poor condition. Most consist of asphalt pavement, with a few having concrete pavement. Their reconstruction is intended to provide for a better driving surface and increased storm water mitigation.

According to information provided by the village, the typical green alley cross section involves reconstruction with concrete pavement, sloped inward toward an approximately three-foot wide strip of permeable pavers.

The pavers allow storm water runoff to be conveyed to a stone reservoir underneath the pavement to help reduce flooding. There is also a perforated pipe within the stone reservoir which helps convey storm water away from the alley during periods of excessive rainfall.

Streets to be resurfaced under the street improvement program are Iowa Street from Park Avenue to Harlem Avenue; Monroe Avenue from Chicago Avenue to Augusta Street; William Street from Chicago to Augusta; and Augusta from Monroe to William.

The village has been relining sewers since 1994 using a process known as cured-in-place pipe, according to Peter Puljic, staff engineer, in a memo. He said staff members consider this process to be a proactive and cost-effective approach toward the maintenance of the village’s aging sewer system.

Trustee Katie Brennan noted that the cost of several of the contracts exceed the amount budgeted.

In response, Jeff Loster, director of public works and development services, explained that staff members in those cases work with the firms selected to complete each project at the budgeted amount by reducing the scope of work or other means. 

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