City Council approves Lincoln Highway lane reduction

Going from four to three lanes in downtown DeKalb will make it safer for pedestrians.


Elisa Reamer | Northern Star

8 alderpeople at DeKalb City Council meeting on Monday.

DeKALB ― Lincoln Highway is set to be reconstructed to fit only three lanes of traffic. Planning for reconstruction began in the spring of 2019 through 2020 and was approved at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The reduction of lanes, which will create “five to six feet of sidewalk space” will make downtown DeKalb safer for pedestrians, according to the April 25 City Council agenda. The city has also added “historic lighting, better signage, wider pedestrian-friendly ‘eyebrows’ at the intersections,” to the design. 

“What we’re looking at is the possibility of having wider sidewalks on both sides by taking out one of those four lanes and basically splitting it on the north and south side,” City Manager Bill Nicklas said.

This reconfiguration means that Lincoln Highway will hold one lane on each side of the road. The center lane will be used as a left-turn lane for eastbound traffic. 

The City of DeKalb has not only received approval from council members, but also from the community about the reconfiguration. 

“All the major stakeholders downtown, property owners, managers, employees, the community, (their) support has been not just overwhelming, but it’s been very heartening,” Nicklas said.

A budget to complete the project was passed in the fall of 2020, according to the meeting agenda. A bid for the completion of the project opened last Wednesday. 

Elliot & Wood Inc., a local business, won the lowest bid for creating the project’s construction site for a price of over $1.7 million, according to the meeting agenda. Elliot & Wood Inc. was the only company to enter the bid, Nicklas said.

The resolution to award Elliot & Wood Inc. a contract for the project passed with six council members in favor and one abstaining. 

The City of DeKalb council members also recommended the hiring of Fehr Graham as a construction engineering company to the reconfiguration project, the agenda reads. 

The construction engineers will assist with meeting project deadlines while remaining within the allotted budget.

The hiring contract for Fehr Graham would cost the City of DeKalb nearly $125,000, which is $25,000 under the rate estimated by the city engineer, according to the agenda. 

“The firm that we’re recommending has experiences on our streets and in our neighborhoods,” Nicklas said. “Fehr Graham has done a good job of coordinating the ins and outs of both contractor vehicles and operations and the people who live and work in the area.”

The council members approved the awarding of a contract to Fehr Graham by a vote of six in favor and one abstention. 

There is no current timeline for when the project will begin.