Brisbin Road improvements among Grundy County's 2014 projects
MORRIS – Brisbin Road improvements will once again be one of Grundy County’s largest projects in 2014 along with a more transparent website, a new emergency management agency vehicle and new tax agreements with local industrial companies.
Two years ago, the county unveiled the new Brisbin Road interchange for Interstate 80 after spending several years of planning and securing funding for the multi-million dollar project.
This year, the county’s highway officials are designing new improvements for a two and a half mile section of Brisbin Road, stretching from the new interchange to Sherrill Road.
“That’s probably the biggest project for us this year,” said Craig Cassem, Grundy County engineer. “It’s prime development right off of the interstate. We want to build a road that will be able to accommodate traffic and we’re anticipating more trucks to use it.”
Cassem said the project will cost around $7 million, but construction may not begin until early 2015. Currently, the county is working to acquire 170 feet of right of way for the new road.
“We may be adding more lanes to it [Brisbin Road] in the future,” Cassem said. “It could be a six lane road in the future, but we don’t know for sure.”
Grundy County Board Chairman Ron Severson said another major project for the county will be making the county’s website more transparent so users can better access information about fees, licenses and all operations at the county.
“The public will have a better window into the inner-workings of Grundy County government than they ever did before,” Severson said.
The county has worked to make the website more transparent over the past two years by adding meeting information, phone numbers, committee agendas, tax audits, county budgets and more.
“The board is trying hard to put absolutely everything online,” said Kristen Torkelson, technology supervisor for Grundy County. “We still have yet to get taxes and fees across the county offices, and also our building and zoning information.”
Torkelson said they hope to have a list of registered contractors, zoning petition information and a checklist for building permits online by the end of this year.
This year the county also is receiving a new mobile control center for the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency. Funding for the vehicle already has been approved and Sirchie Vehicle Division in New Jersey was contracted to build it.
“It’s basically going to be a mobile command post,” said Joe Schroeder, deputy director of the Grundy County EMA. “It will provide communications support and have a whole area designed for decision makers to meet.”
The EMA has had to borrow Will County’s moving command center on a couple of occasions, including during the Coal City and Diamond tornado.
“We can’t just rely on using Will County’s because there may be times when we are affected by the same disaster and they need it,” Severson said.
The new vehicle will be 28 feet long and resemble a motor home, Schroeder said. The county expects to use the new vehicle 20 to 30 times a year, at both disaster area and pre-planned events.
Severson said the EMA vehicle was purchased for about $153,000 and is scheduled to arrive in late February or early March.
Several lingering tax agreements also are on the county’s list of projects.
The county is “making progress” on the LyondellBasell tax agreement, but still has work to do regarding agreements with Dresden Station and Midwest Generation, Severson said.
“We’ve been working on some of these for quite awhile and hope to have them sorted out in the coming year,” Severson said.