ROCHELLE — Rochelle City Council members, several attending the meeting by phone Monday night, approved several projects in the city.
Due to efforts in keeping with social distancing practices in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak globally, only Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows, City Manager Jeff Fiegenschuh, city clerk Sue Messer, and council members Tom McDermott and Don Burke were in attendance at council chambers while council members Kate Shaw-Dickey, Dan McDermott, Bil Hayes and John Gruben teleconferenced into the meeting Monday night.
Two weeks ago Governor J.B. Pritzker amended the Open Meetings Act to allow for members to participate remotely. The order remains in effect for 30 days from its issuance on March 9.
The top items approved by council members included construction work on South Main Street and an agreement with the city railroad and wind turbine materials.
S. Main Street project
It was recommended that council approve a resolution authorizing payment for right-of-way and temporary construction easement right pertaining to the South Main Street Project with DC Rochelle. This project allows for the purchase of right of way parcels and/or easements for the South Main Street Phase 1 reconstruction project. The subject site is owned by DC Rochelle LLC and is the former site of the Rochelle Truck Center.
“As a result of the final engineering plans it was determined that certain additional right of way parcels and easements were necessary to complete the construction of the improvements. Appraisals were conducted on each property,” city manager Fiegenschuh said. “After over a year of negotiations the property owner has agreed to the purchase of right of way and easements which will allow the enlarged signalized intersection improvements to be constructed as part of the S. Main Street/Steward Road project. Included in the price is the acquisition and removal of an existing 900 square foot building that was formerly used as a residence and office space.”
Also approved as part of the S. Main Street project was a bid by Martin and Company Excavating for improvements on a two-year ongoing project.
A joint state /local agency agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation for the South Main Street project was approved several years ago and since that time there has been additional funds awarded to the project. Over the past years plans have been developed, and recently approved by IDOT for moving forward to bidding and award. Right-of-way and easement acquisition have been ongoing for the past 2 years. The South Main Street project was anticipated to be bid and awarded in 2020 and subsequently included in the 2020 budget. The project extends along South Main Street, from Steam Plant Road to Steward Road and along Steward Road for approximately 1,700 feet.
Council members approved the bid from Martin and Company Excavating in the amount of $2,476,941.72 for the project.
The project will be funded through the CIP fund with city sales tax funds, infrastructure bond revenues and IDOT EDP funds which will account for approximately 50 percent of the project.
The council approved an agreement with Burlington Junction Railroad and a transloader to use the Rochelle Transloading Center to move windmill components.
“The recent opening of the Rochelle Transloading Center has begun to attract a number of rail to truck transloading opportunities. The Burlington Junction Railroad operates a number of transloading operations in other locations and is seeking to enter into this contract with a heavy equipment transloader who has extensive experience in transloading windmill blades, towers, hubs and nacells,” Fiegenschuh explained. “The revenue derived from this project is significant. Switching windmill railcars generates $415 per car with $140 per rail car going to the city. The revenue for use of the RTC is $75 per railcar and the unloading/staging of component ranges from $300 to $500 per component that is unloaded from a railcar. Depending on the number of windmills to be transloaded, the total revenue to the railroad for this project would range between $100,000 to $1.2 million.”
Truckloads will travel from the RTC to Illinois Route 251 and Interstate 88. Additional revenue to the city will come in the form of overweight/oversized permitting which will be determined by the number of trucks required to move the components out of Rochelle.
“The only way to support this is if the cost will help maintain the roads,” Fiegenschuh added.