South Annie Glidden may expand to 4 lanes

By Laura Grandt

South Annie Glidden Road may be expanded to four lanes and elevated because of $10 million to $12 million in federal, state and local funds, said Mike Bauling, an engineer for the city of DeKalb.

Construction hinges on a federal transportation bill that includes an expected $8.5 million to $9 million for the project, Bauling said. It is unclear when the bill will pass, but Bauling said he is confident construction will happen.

The city has been working with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to secure the federal funds in the transportation bill, Mayor Greg Sparrow said. The city already has secured $500,000 in other federal funds for engineering costs, he added.

The remaining costs would be funded locally. The state may fund half the remaining amount. Chances for federal and state dollars being used for the project are “pretty good,” Sparrow said.

The project would widen South Annie Glidden Road to four lanes and raise the road above flood level, Bauling said. Storm sewers also would be included to prevent potential flooding problems.

The changes would be made between Fairview Drive and the Union Pacific Railroad underpass. Minimal work, mainly resurfacing of the road, would be done under the railroad because the road already is four lanes there and nothing can be moved below the underpass, Bauling said. South of the railroad, the road would expand primarily on the east side.

NIU President John Peters has a seat on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is a group made of various government agencies that is concerned with transportation.

Peters said any improvements on traffic patterns and safety around campus benefit the university as well as the community because much of the traffic on Annie Glidden Road is from NIU students and visitors.

The road improvement is a city project, so NIU is not involved in the day-to-day operations, but Peters said he will offer support and advice.

South Annie Glidden Road was widened and stoplights were added at the Taylor Street intersection during the summer. The project was planned with further construction in mind, and all new work will be done on top of the current street surface, Bauling said.

Before construction can begin, land rights must be secured. The city will have to buy land and negotiate the use of land for the duration of the project, Bauling said. Land between the underpass and Taylor Street should not be an issue because the city and park district own most of it.

Bauling said some nearby residents are concerned about the project.

“There are some people who don’t want [the construction], and there are some people who realize that the road needs to be fixed and widened,” Bauling said. “And they’re not against it; they just want it not to affect their property.”

People with the department and city staff have been discussing the matter with concerned residents, Bauling said. There have been several meetings about the subject. The city of DeKalb will listen to citizens’ requests and concerns and will try to accommodate, Sparrow said.

A public hearing for the project has been scheduled for 3 p.m. today at the River Heights Golf Course Clubhouse, 1100 S. Annie Glidden Road.