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Upcoming road closure, fire station discussed at Collinsville council

By Devese “Dee”  Ursery

Road closures right after Memorial Day will cause residents and  those traveling through the intersection of IL 157 and Horseshoe Lake, in Collinsville, to be redirected for about 30 days, as the public works department completes construction on the Madison County Transit’s Schoolhouse Bicycle Trail Underpass project.

At the Tuesday meeting of the Collinsville City Council, Jason Dreyer, project manager for Oates and Associates discussed construction plans, lane closures as well as commercial and residential detour routes in regards to the MCT bike trail project. He said the construction date was set to start on March 1, but wouldn’t begin until March 13, because of utility relocation work previously scheduled for that area. 

Dreyer said that the project consists of about 1100 feet of MCT’s bike trail. He also said that they plan to remove the at-grade crossing and depress the bike trail underneath state route 157 with a concrete box culvert. 

“From the residents of Collinsville’s standpoint, I think the most important thing is the closure of 157 for one month,” Dreyer said. “The project will vastly increase trail user safety and enjoyment as well.”

Dreyer informed the council that lane closures are scheduled for May 30 through June 30. He said that outside of that closure there will be intermittent lane closures on 157 as well to allow construction crews room to move in equipment and to work. The scheduled completion date of the project is Oct. 28.

“They got to take all the pavement  up, excavate as much as 17 feet down and get that box culvert in,” Dreyer said. “Then get everything back up to the pavement within 30 days.”

Dreyer said that the Illinois Department of Transportation requires that street departments use all state routes or interstate detours when detouring commercial vehicles. He said the detour will take commercial traffic from state route 157 to 162, Interstate 255 and then down to Interstate 55/70. He also informed the Council of full access to United Drive, Horseshoe Lake Road, Woodlands Trail Drive and the north and south legs of route 157.

Local detour routes for regular traffic will go through United Drive to Freedom Drive to Horseshoe Lake Road. All detoured routes will be signed.  

Chief John Bailot, on behalf of the Fire Department Master Plan Committee discussed plans for fire department facilities for the city of Collinsville.

The committee has conducted a comprehensive review of the Fire Department Master Plan and current and future fire department needs. This will be in an effort to provide the implementation component for the Master Plan. 

The committee is made up of one city council member, the city manager, police chief and the civilian support service supervisor. Also included: deputy chief of fire operations, one Collinsville business owner, a Collinsville resident, several members of fire department Local 2625 and the chief of the fire department. There were three subcommittees formed during the process of the FDM committee and one of those was the Fire Department Facilities Committee, “which is how we got to this point,” Bailot said. 

 According to Bailot the committee was tasked with conducting a fact-based evaluation of current and future fire station locations.

Collinsville employed Mcgrath Consulting Group to do a study of the fire department and create a roadmap for the future providing some objectives and goals. The report was presented to the Council in late February 2020. 

The document did not offer an opinion on whether or not Collinsville should operate with two  fire stations or add a third. The report did state that consultants believe that within the next five to 10 years there should be serious consideration to placing a third station within Collinsville. The recommendation was made because of the City’s future growth industrially, commercially and in regards to residential housing.

From his report, Chief Bailot stated that based on information and future development needs, the ideal scenario is for the fire department to work out of three fire stations. The recommendation includes replacing and relocating Fire Station 2 as quickly as possible to a location further northeast of the City. That would need to be followed by establishing a third fire station in the northwest region of Collinsville.

Data from the report also showed that the two fire stations, in their current locations, overlap each other. This overlap means that the two fire stations service a lot of the same area that’s within a four-minute response time, weakening their full capacity of its service, per the report. 

The four-minute response time is a significant point based on scientific analysis and is very important with reporting to fires and EMS calls.

Bailot said that every 60 seconds a structure fire doubles in size making fire response critical for keeping the fire small and under control. He also said that prompt treatment for serious or life-threatening conditions reduces disability and improves a patient’s outcome.

According to Committee recommendations the facilities subcommittee evaluated geographical data specific to where calls for service are occurring and where future development is likely.  

The projected growth of the region means more activity and the need for more emergency services. 

Mayor John Miller said, “It’s our public safety, your families, the families that live in this community; it’s their safety at stake.

Miller also said that he’s been there and done that, as a former firefighter and there’s nothing more aggravating than a long response time, knowing that someone is down.

The Council approved a bid from Lord Enterprises, Inc. to replace broken digital signs at the entrances of the Gateway Convention Center. The current signs are not functional and will be switched out for brand new signage. Lord Enterprises offered the lowest bid at $116,510 which is higher than Gateway’s 2023 CIP budgeted amount of $80,000.

Jamie Lane, general manager of the Gateway Center discussed two ways of settling the Gateway Center debt. She said by prepaying for the Trane HVAC CIP project by March 31, the City would save $11,000.

Lane said another $ 15,000 would come off the books by moving upcoming CIP projects to either mid-year review or as a 2024 project.

The new signs will provide way-finding, improve traffic flow with directional signage for client’s events as well generate advertising and sponsorship opportunities. 


Dennis Kress, public works director said that WHKS Engineers will be helping the City in developing a Lead Service Line Inventory to comply with the IEPA Lead and Copper Rule Revision. 

The revision requires that the City conduct and submit an initial inventory of water service line materials to the IEPA by April 15. 

Kress said the scope of work included project management, detailed GIS analysis of the 12,500 service lines and coordination of field verification of suspected lead service lines. He also said that the project was 100% funded by the IEPA’s Lead Service Line Inventory Grant program.

Kress said that the City does have some lead service lines, but there has been a policy in place since the early 1990s that anytime we find one , it’s priority to replace it. He also said the City has a corrosion control program where the water is purposely treated with scale-forming properties. The scale forming process builds up a scale on the inside of the lead and insulates the water from the lead material.

Kess said the City’s tests results for lead and copper have been so low that they received in the past. The requirement is testing every year, the waiver requires Collinsville to test every three years.

“Our water is safe,” Kress said. “I don’t want our residents to think that we have lead contamination in our water because we don’t.” 

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