Lucinda project set to begin next year

By Rob Heselbarth

The long-discussed Lucinda Avenue renovation project is set to begin early next summer.

The cost of the whole project has been estimated at $2.96 million, divided between NIU, the City of DeKalb, and the State of Illinois. The project has been tossed around for years but NIU kicked up the final part of its payment through a bond refinancing effort earlier this year.

“NIU has committed to around $600,000, the Federal Highway Administration has committed for $650,000, and the City of DeKalb will pick up the rest,” said Ralph Tompkins, assistant director of DeKalb’s Public Work for Engineering Services.

Eddie Williams, vice president of Finance and Planning, said there are certain things which need to be done first.

“The parts of (the project) which will be underway this school year will be to relocate utility lines before they start the street construction,” Williams said.

Tompkins said said the moving of public utility lines will begin in March or April of 1993.

“We’re still dealing with the utility companies and trying to organize them,” Tompkins said.

“There have been years of coordinating meetings which have been organizing when and where each utility line will be moved,” he said.

NIU, the city of DeKalb, and public utilities such as GTE and the gas company all have lines running through the area.

Once the utility lines are moved, the road construction will begin, approximately at the beginning of May 1993.

Tompkins said the major construction will not start until after classes end to avoid as many traffic hassles as possible.

“The construction will be a major traffic inconvenience cars and especially buses, but that can’t be avoided,” he said.

During construction, Lucinda Avenue will be one way in a westbound direction, he added.

“The north half of the existing pavement will be used while the south half is being worked on, and once the south side is done, we’ll switch it around,” he said.

“There will be a median with landscaping, stretching from Annie Glidden Road to Wirtz Drive,” Tompkins said. “There will also be left-turn lanes at all the major intersections.”

Normal Road from Lucinda Avenue to the Swen Parson building will be widened, sidewalks will be added on the east side, and the whole road will be resurfaced.

“At this point, it will be the fall of 1994 before the whole project is complete,” he said.