The fix is in for Stuenkel Road near GSU
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com June 26, 2014 6:56PM
Walter Adamic | Supplied photo
Updated: July 28, 2014 1:05PM
As Will County Board member Walter Adamic, D-Joliet, aptly noted during a recent meeting, “The road to college can be a bumpy one.”
But Will County officials have teamed up with the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and the village of University Park to make sure that students traveling along Stuenkel Road — aka University Parkway — have a less bumpy ride to Governors State University.
The reconstruction and widening of a stretch of road from the Metra parking lot entrance just east of Governors Highway to Crawford Avenue — a project that has been talked about for 18 years — may get done next summer.
The SSMMA will pay 80 percent of the $4 million cost from its funds, which include federal money, and Will County and University Park will split the remaining 20 percent, paying about $400,000 each.
After the past winter, the road to GSU has been so bumpy that University Park recently did a temporary fix, overlaying the section from the Metra lot entrance to GSU’s driveway with a fresh coat of asphalt.
“The project has been in our system since 1996 but for various reasons it could not get off the ground,” SSMMA transportation director Tom Vander Woude said.
He said that with work beginning this year on an Interstate 57 interchange at Stuenkel Road, “The time was right for this.”
The SSMMA also has earmarked $2.4 million for the $4 million reconstruction and widening of Stuenkel Road from the interchange near Central Avenue to Home Avenue, just east of Cicero Avenue, he said. The remaining funds of $1.6 million will come from a federal Congestion Air Quality Mitigation grant.
The Illinois Department of Transportation recently awarded bids for that portion of Stuenkel Road, which could be completed this summer, Vander Woude said.
Bids for the next phase, in front of the university, will be let in January, he said.
When completed, Stuenkel Road from I-57 to Crawford will have been totally reconstructed and widened to three lanes, one in each direction plus a center turn lane, and there will be a new bike path, curbs and gutters. New signals will be installed at Cicero Avenue, and also at the entrance to GSU and at Crawford.
A third and final phase will be improvements to the intersection of Stuenkel Road and Governors Highway. Vander Woude said he is confident a funding source for that project can be found.
The SSMMA mayors who serve on its transportation committee recognized the regional importance of GSU, Metra and the connection to the interstate, Vander Woude said.
“I’m really happy everyone worked together on this. This will be a gateway to Will County. They realized the need to make this a safe and attractive highway,” he said.
GSU President Elaine Maimon attended the recent Will County board meeting when members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the $400,000 expense.
“This is a resolution for regionalism, for looking at GSU as your only public university and making sure the road leading to it is safe,” she said. “I am proud of your vision and sense that we are all working together.”