By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — City Council members tonight will consider approval of a $248 million capital plan that resurfaces neighborhood streets, rebuilds major roadways and reconstructs bridges over the next five years.
“It is the largest capital improvement plan in our city’s history,” Mayor Tom McNamara said on This Week in the Stateline. “I think anyone who drives on those roads and walks on the sidewalks knows that we have a lot of work to do to get those roads up to where our citizens deserve them.”
The plan calls for resurfacing 200 blocks of neighborhood streets next year alone, part of nearly $48 million in work in 2022.
The capital plan tackles “some of the worst streets in Rockford,” McNamara said.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest projects on the plan:
11th Street corridor
The city is moving forward with various improvements totaling $14.3 million over three construction phases in five years. The work includes roadway resurfacing, sidewalk upgrades, decorative elements and traffic and pedestrian safety improvements.
The project is expected to be complete in fall 2026.
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Church and Main streets two-way conversion
Both Church and North Main streets are slated to be converted for two-way traffic from Cedar Street to John Street.
“This conversion will enhance the city of Rockford’s central city by allowing a more walkable and rideable community and allow better access to many of the downtown’s visitor attractions,” the city says in the capital plan.
The $3.36 million project is schedule to be complete in fall 2024.
This $3.8 million project will rebuild Charles Street with concrete pavement. The pavement section will also be narrowed to include an offstreet multiuse path along the south side of the roadway to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists traveling from East High School to the Alpine Road area.
The work is scheduled to be complete in fall 2022.
The city plans a $4.95 million reconstruction of the street plus repairs to the sidewalk and realignment of the road at the curve.
It is also considering connection of the Mel B. Anderson Path to the Rock River Recreation Path along the south side of the road.
Completion is expected in fall 2024.
15th Avenue bridge
The 15th Avenue bridge over the Rock River was built in 1933 and is near the end of its useful life, according to the city. The bridge would need to be closed to traffic within five to 10 years.
The city has applied for federal funding to help offset the estimated $13.8 million cost to replace the bridge.
The work is scheduled to be complete in fall 2027.
This $3.4 million project will include milling the existing pavement, resurfacing it with asphalt and repairing curb and sidewalk. The improvements will be made in coordination with Union Pacific, which has railroad in the roadway on Madison Street.
The project is slated to be complete in fall of 2026.
See the full capital plan on the city’s website here.