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More needed for local bridge project

By Randy Pierce

Pending relocation of Lebanon Road where it crosses the CSX Railroad line in Collinsville Township is requiring a bit of additional funding from the county before it can move ahead toward the actual construction phase.

According to legislation passed recently by the Madison County Board, another $7800 has been earmarked from the county bridge fund toward the preliminary engineering aspect of the project which has been pending for over three years while all of its logistical components finalized.

The county’s highway department engineer, Adam Walden, told the board’s transportation committee that the supplemental funding support is necessary because of a stipulation from the railroad company’s officials who said they would not orchestrate the needed review and okay the plans unless CSX is paid to do so.

CSX wants its engineers, Walden explained, to look the project plans over and is holding the county responsible for the expense for this because it was the county which initiated this idea. 

Walden also said the design professionals in his department can determine if the work done by the CSX engineers is sufficient to justify the extra cost but noted that the $7800 is actually a very small portion of the overall expense where the county is concerned.

The section to be improved as a result of a partnership involving the county, the township and the Illinois Department of Transportation, goes from two-tenths of a mile east of Clay School Road to a point a half-mile west of Longhi Road. But since the bridge over the railroad is included in this stretch, then CSX has to be involved in that aspect of the project, at least up front where the design is concerned.

The project, toward which the county had previously designated $2 million from its bridge fund, also consists of right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation as necessary.

The source of this money is the county’s motor fuel tax fund which is paid on the purchase of gasoline at the pump by consumers and is regulated by the Illinois Highway Code with the restriction that it only be used for expenses related to transportation improvements or roadway maintenance. 

Lochmueller Group, an engineering services business located in Troy, earlier this year was contracted by Madison County to perform additional work as required concerning the relocation of a portion of Lebanon Road where it crosses the CSX Railroad line in Collinsville Township. 

Walden had noted that the representatives of the railroad originally were completely against the project design as it pertains to the hydraulic flow under and around the proposed, relocated bridge and remained adamant about not granting easement rights for the new construction until both the design and flow issues were resolved. 

Further stating that the demands of the railroad officials necessitated the new engineering that is beyond the original contract between the county and Lochmueller, Walden said, “We don’t have any other options,” to the transportation committee. “We’re getting close to the finish line.”

The most recent legislation authorized unanimously by the county board included background that the county had previously designated money on two occasions toward the completion of these early stages of the project. That resolution was brought to the full county board by its transportation committee chaired by Bobby Ross of St. Jacob.

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