Fairfield plans road improvement projects

Union photo by Andy Hallman

The city of Fairfield plans to rebuild Fourth Street between Broadway Avenue and the railroad tracks in 2021.
Union photo by Andy Hallman The city of Fairfield plans to rebuild Fourth Street between Broadway Avenue and the railroad tracks in 2021.

FAIRFIELD – The city of Fairfield is embarking on a number of projects to improve the town’s roads.

One project that should start by the end of the month is the complete reconstruction of Monroe Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. That project was bid last summer, but the contractor didn’t have a chance to get to it until the weather turned too cold. Rather than leave the street torn up all winter, the contractor opted to do the project the following spring.

Several more projects are on tap for 2021 and beyond. One of those is the reconstruction of 32nd Street between Burlington Avenue and the north part of the Jackpine Loop near the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Fairfield City Engineer Melanie Carlson said French-Reneker-Associates scored all the roads in town based on how badly they needed to be repaired, taking into account the condition of the road, the amount of traffic that used it, and its proximity to essential services like the fire station, police station and schools. 32nd Street scored high on several metrics, particularly because its pavement was in bad shape and because it gets a fair amount of use, which is why it will be one of the next roads to be repaired.

Carlson said rebuilding 32nd Street poses an interesting problem because there are no alleys for the residents along the street to use, thus no alternate routes during construction. She’s not sure how the city will solve this problem – perhaps with a temporary road on the shoulder – but those details will be determined later.

Other than 32nd Street, French-Reneker is designing a partial rebuild of Fourth Street between the railroad tracks and Broadway Avenue. For that repair, the road’s existing surface will be milled and replaced with a new layer of asphalt. The city will use that opportunity to perform improvements on the water and sewer system in the area. Carlson noted that the area is sort of a “dead zone” for utilities because for a long time the railroad used the area for storage and had no need of water or sewer connections. With greater development occurring in the area, such as the opening of Depot Brewery, the city has an opportunity to correct the problem and offer services to those customers.

The city will work on curb ramps along Fourth Street to bring them up to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We want to make that area easier to walk,” Carlson said. “There are a lot of places where it’s hard to push a stroller or a wheelchair.”

Another road project on the horizon is reconstructing Merrill and Carpenter avenues on the north side of town near Maharishi International University. The city also plans to work on the crosswalk at the intersection of Merrill and Fourth Street by installing sidewalks on the west and south sides of the intersection.

“We know that’s a busy and important pathway for pedestrians and cyclists to come and go from the university,” Carlson said.

Two years from now, in the spring and summer of 2022, South Highway 1 will be reconstructed near the intersection with Libertyville Road. The city plans to replace that intersection – where traffic from Libertyville Road have a stop sign and traffic on Highway 1 have nothing – with a roundabout. Carlson said the engineers behind the project and the city council have agreed that a roundabout is the best option for the intersection.