Unfortunately there was no money in the city budget to take
on such a project, so the bridge was temporarily closed and let go
to wait for the new fiscal year.
Over time, discussions turned to
whether or not the bridge was actually needed. Residents along
Oglesby were seemingly not bothered by the lack of means to cross
Brainard's Branch, and aldermen concluded that perhaps the city
would be wise to demolish the bridge and save that money for
something more crucial.
This summer, the problem of the bridge was resolved when it was
decided that the city would contract to have the bridge torn out and
a cul-de-sac created on each side of it. Bid packages were prepared
and went out to contractors.
In the time between the bid packages going out and coming back,
Mathon resigned his position with the city, and Prairie Engineers of
Illinois was hired to serve as interim engineers for the city.
When the bids came in, Darren Forgy of Prairie Engineers
expressed concern over the specifications for the work, and in the
end the city rejected all bids on the project.
At that same time, Forgy talked to the council about developing a
five-year capital improvement plan for the city infrastructure. He
suggested that major projects be put on hold until a plan was
developed. This included the bridge on Oglesby.
Tuesday evening Marty Neitzel, who chairs the street and alley
committee, said she wanted to put on the voting agenda approval of a
work order for Prairie Engineers for the engineering work for the
Oglesby project. The work order in the amount of $10,980 was for the
engineering of the bridge project, design of the cul-de-sac,
conducting a topical survey and developing the documents for the bid
It was noted that the amount would cover hours of service in
addition to the monthly contract amount the city is currently paying
During discussion Buzz Busby was the first to ask why this was
Forgy said that acting now would mean that the city could go
forward with the bidding process and have construction started by
early spring. He said it was fairly certain that the bridge on
Oglesby would be at the top of the five-year capital improvement
plan, so it seemed like it would be good to move forward and get it
out of the way.
Tom O'Donohue asked if this fee was for the design of the bridge
coming out. He wondered if this was work that had already been done
for the first round of bids by the former engineer.
Mayor Keith Snyder said it had not been done for the original bid
packet. Forgy explained that in the bid package there were concept
documents, but no actual design. He said it had been intended that
the design of the cul-de-sac would be laid out in the field after
the bid was awarded.
He also noted that in the original bid packet there were no
specifications for grading of the area for curb and gutter work.
O'Donohue said he just wondered why this project had been bid
once, now it was being bid again, plus there was this extra $10,000
going into the project. He wondered if all this was really
Forgy said that even if the original bid had been awarded, this
work would still have had to be done.
O'Donohue then asked about the monthly fee the city is paying
Prairie Engineers and wondered why this wasn't a part of it. He said
he was concerned about seeing these types of extra costs with future
Snyder said that when the city hired Prairie Engineers, they did
so with a contract that specified the number of hours the firm would
work for the city. This project will exceed those hours. He said the
design of the cul-de-sac and removal of the bridge were hours above
and beyond the firm's contract.
[to top of second column]
Forgy added that the city could increase the number of hours in
the contract, but he really wouldn't recommend it. He said that by
doing it this way, the city would be able to charge whatever fund is
paying for the project for the engineering as well.
Currently, the engineering contract is split between the city's
general fund and the sewer fund. Forgy noted, for example, that if
the money for the build were coming out of the infrastructure fund,
the design could also come out of that fund.
O'Donohue also wondered why the engineers had decided to go
forward with this project, when a few weeks ago it had been tabled
to await the five-year plan.
Melody Anderson lives on Oglesby Avenue, just a short distance
from the bridge. She said she felt there were some safety concerns
at the bridge that perhaps made it important to go forward with this
She said she really didn't believe the bridge is going to cave in
if someone drives across it, but it is closed. There are barricades
up, but often she and her husband, Andy, walk to the bridge and find
that the barricades have been moved. She said they put the
barricades back where they belong quite often.
She also noted there are supposed to be flashing lights on the
barricades, but she often finds they are not working.
Forgy noted that one good reason to start now on the project is
to protect the city from price increases in the future. He also
noted that very soon the Illinois Department of Transportation will
start letting out bid packages for the spring, and contractors will
Going back to the reason for the added cost, Snyder commented
that in the past it has not been unusual to have additional
engineering done on a project. It was noted that engineers were
hired to do work on the Fifth Street project as well as others.
Anderson said she never really understood why, when the city had
an engineer on the payroll, they often ended up hiring another one
for design work.
Jonie Tibbs said she understood the need for additional work on
the project. She said she felt the city would want to get the
project started right away so it would end up as it should.
Discussion on the topic dwindled after that, and Neitzel asked
that the approval of the work order be added to next week's voting
Having the item on the agenda indicates it will come to a vote
next Monday night. However, the council has the right to table any
item they are not prepared to vote on.
[By NILA SMITH]
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