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Construction approved on Morris sidewalks, bridge

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 9:32 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 9:38 p.m. CST

MORRIS – By next fall, a semi-continuous path of sidewalks will link Gore Road to downtown Morris, something Mayor Richard Kopczick is excited about.

This will be possible after Lisbon Road bridge is reconstructed next year, with one of the major improvements being the addition of a sidewalk along the east side of the bridge.

“We’ve been looking forward to it because of the mere fact that we will now have sidewalk from Gore Road that – for all intents and purposes – will go all the way to Illinois Avenue,” Kopczick said Tuesday.

The eight-month project also will involve replacing the entire bridge structure, widening the opening to Interstate 80, heightening the bridge from the drive surface and widening the driving lanes from 11 to 15 feet in width.

The Morris City Council approved Monday a letter of understanding with the Illinois Department of Transportation to move forward with bidding the project. IDOT is the regulating authority of the Lisbon Road bridge and is charged with paying for the entire project.

According to city engineer Guy Christensen, the bridge is the original structure that was built nearly half a century ago when I-80 was first constructed and it no longer meets federal and state standards pertaining to height above interstates.

“It’s a significantly old bridge,” Christensen said.

During the process of rebuilding, the state will have to remove several trees that line Lisbon Road, but has promised to replace the trees.

“They are going to provide the city with trees to place wherever it wants – in parks, parkways or anywhere,” Christensen said. “So we’re losing a lot of trees on the overpass, but they’re giving us new trees to plant.”

IDOT will go out for bid this November, but construction of the new bridge is not slated to begin until next March with an anticipated finish date of November 2015.

During that time, traffic in the area will have to be re-routed, Kopczick said.

Morris municipal building adds curb appeal

Also Monday, the council permitted Jim Chismarick of All Year Round Landscape Services in Morris to rework landscaping at the city building to the tune of about $10,000, Kopczick said.

Colorful flower beds, trimmed trees and new mulching will be among the enhancements made to the building, all adding to its curb appeal, Kopczick said.

The last landscape improvements were made in 2010, when city officials first moved into the building.

Kopczick said the decision to re-landscape the building was prompted by a number of plants that have died in the last few years and the amount of time since the last update.

“It’s been four years since we moved in and we’ve been busy with other facets. It’s just time to start looking at this because the building really needs it,” Kopczick said.

“City hall should look presentable to people who come into our community to work and to conduct business as well as those who are passing through,” he continued.

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