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Morris approves funds to help widen Route 47

MORRIS – The city of Morris could spend an estimated $857,000 on widening Route 47 from north of Interstate 80 to the county line.

The council approved 7-0 during Monday’s City Council meeting a resolution to appropriate the funds for the Route 47 highway improvement project. The money would come from the city’s Motor Fuel Tax Fund, General Fund, and Water and Sewer Fund.

Money from the city’s Tax Increment Financing Fund cannot be used for the project, as the Route 47 project falls outside of the city’s TIF district. A TIF Fund is made up of money from a TIF district, which freezes the assessed value of properties in the district. Any tax money generated from increases in value of those properties then goes into a special fund to be used to improve properties in the district.

The highway will be widened to four lanes with supplemental turn lanes. There will be enough shoulder space – 12 feet – for bicyclists.

Nearly four and a half miles – beginning a half-mile north of Interstate 80 and ending a half-mile north of Sherrill Road – will be included in the improvements. Only one mile of the project falls within Morris’s city corporate limits.

The Illinois Department of Transportation hopes to begin accepting bids for the project as early as November. Documents provided to council members estimate the total cost – including the federal, state and local shares – at more than $48 million.

“We would probably see a spring construction start time,” Mayor Richard Kopczick said prior to Monday’s meeting.

Once construction begins, the project could take more than two years.

“All of the utilities will have to be moved – your telephone lines, your gas and sewer mains, everything,” said Kopczick, who signed a Plan Approval Letter for the project during Monday’s meeting.

A cost-sharing agreement between Morris and the state of Illinois for the project also was approved during Monday’s meeting. The agreement explains what project expenditures are the state’s responsibility and which are the city’s.

A new traffic signal at Route 47 and Prologis Parkway is estimated to cost the city $324,000. Another $323,000 is estimated to be spent on 15 free-standing roadway lights.

Other expenditures include adding a 5-foot wide concrete sidewalk and upgrading Granville and Airport roads.

The council also adopted an ordinance prohibiting parking on Route 47 from Interstate 80 to Morris’s north corporate limits. Another ordinance, regarding encroachment on roadway right-of-way along Route 47, was adopted with a 7-0 vote. Both ordinances were necessary for the advancement of the Route 47 project.

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