Lucinda renovation runs smoothly in first stages

By Rob Heselbarth

The first stage of construction involved in the Lucinda Avenue renovation project is near completion and the next stages are soon to follow.

The project budget is $2.96 million which will be divided between NIU, the Federal Highway Administration and the city of DeKalb.

NIU has committed to $600,000, the FHA will contribute $650,000 and the city of DeKalb will cover the remaining $1.71 million.

Eddie Williams, vice president of Finance and Planning, said all construction involved with the project to date has been within the proposed budget.

Stage one of the project was the relocation of NIU telecommunication lines which created detours throughout the center of campus last semester.

Walter Czerniak, director of NIU computer and telecommunications, said most of the major groundwork of stage one was completed last semester and it should be finished in April.

“We are just about finished with the manhole system,” Czerniak said. “In February we will pull the lines through, and the system should be operational in April.”

Williams said good weather allowed for most of the digging to be completed before it became too cold.

Czerniak said concrete can no longer be poured because of the winter weather. He said the hole in the King Memorial Commons near Normal Road will be filled with gravel until it gets warmer.

Ralph Tompkins, assistant public works director for engineering services, said the next stage in the project will be the bidding and awarding of the contract.

Tompkins said the bidding will take place on Feb. 6 in Springfield and will be handled by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

He said once the contract has been awarded the final schedule and budget will be worked out.

Construction which will start this semester will include the widening of part of Normal Road slated to begin in mid-March, he said.

Other construction in accordance with the project will be the relocating of public utility lines on Lucinda Avenue.

“Utility companies will be working on Lucinda Avenue,” Tompkins said. “They will most likely be causing some traffic problems but hopefully nothing major.”

Williams said the major construction on Lucinda Avenue will not begin until May, after graduation.