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Lebanon Road bridge project to proceed

By Randy Pierce

As a result of a hearing before the Illinois Commerce Commission held late last month, Madison County has received approval to proceed with plans for a new overpass in conjunction with the realignment of Lebanon Road in Collinsville Township.

Resistance to the project from officials representing CSX Transportation Inc., which has one of its railroad lines at this location, had stalled the plans until the ruling came down after the June 23 hearing.

The section to be improved as a result of a partnership of 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, up front where the design is concerned and for allowing the use of its easements for the needed construction work.

Madison County Engineer of Highways Adam Walden, who was represented by John Gilbert, assistant state’s attorney for the county at the ICC hearing, told the county board transportation committee on Wednesday, July 5, that the order to proceed with the project was provided the previous day. 

He added, however, that there still needs to be an approval from that level for the hydraulic engineering study component as related to this bridge work.

As part of its costs and spelled out in the ICC statement, the county will be required to reimburse CSX for any expense it incurs related to the project along with the tendering of a construction agreement between the two entities concerning what will occur.

Also as specified in the “agreed order” as it is defined by the ICC, the new bridge over the CSX tracks is needed to replace “functionally obsolete” underpasses on Lebanon Road and on nearby Lockmann Road which is just east of the Lumaghi Heights subdivision in Collinsville Township. 

The county additionally contends that emergency vehicle access and school bus route safety will be greatly improved once the road realignment and bridge work are finished with traffic study projections indicating there will be an increase from 2300 motor vehicles per day using this route now to about 3150 by 2032, the result of growth and development in this area. 

Lebanon Road runs in a northeasterly direction from Illinois Route 159 in Collinsville along an area which is generally south of the City of Troy toward the O’Fallon-Troy Road. 

As part of the ICC hearing process, CSX stated 13 trains per day run at a speed of up to approximately 60 miles per hour on two tracks in an east-west direction. 

The Illinois Department of Transportation, as noted in the ICC order, will be providing $15,605,000 from the state’s Grade Crossing Protection Fund for eligible costs incurred as part of this project. 

The estimated total project cost is $20,635,000 with the township road district already having paid $550,000 for the acquisition of some right-of-way needed and the county committing $4,480,000 to go along with the aforementioned support from the state’s Grade Crossing Protection Fund.

The source of the local share for this expense 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 costs 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. 

As part of the materials presented to the ICC by the county related to this matter, the necessary easements from CSX were the last remaining components of land acquisition required. The tentative target for the project bid is September of this year with anticipated completion projected for November 30, 2025. Once the work is completed, the Collinsville Township Road District will take full ownership of the new Lebanon Road overpass. 

Provisions incorporated into the order allow for consideration by the ICC of requests from the parties involved concerning extensions of time and/or petitions related to possible supplemental orders from it that may be requested.


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