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Work for new streetlights delayed

The Illinois Department of Transportation has notified city officials that a streetlight project in Oregon’s downtown along Ill. 2 has been delayed.

“IDOT has informed us that due to turn around times on some of the environmental studies being done for approval as part of the ITEP grant we have been awarded, bid letting will most likely take place in January or spring of next year (2015) so there will be no construction this year along Rt. 2 in the downtown between Jefferson Street and Franklin Street,” said city street superintendent Mike Bowers in an April 15 email.

In January 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider announced $50 million in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grants for 54 projects throughout the state.

The city was awarded $525,760 in state grant money to help pay for $657,202 in improvements to the downtown historic commercial district.

Oregon’s project will include new street lights, sidewalks, and curb and gutter.

The project will include 19 new street lights and poles along both sides of Ill. 2 from Jefferson Street to Franklin Street and new curb and gutter and sidewalk on the east side of Ill. 2 in the 100 block south of Ill. 64 and on both sides north of Ill. 64.

City officials began updating those elements of the business district starting in 2002 in conjunction with IDOT projects along Ill. 64 (Washington Street).

Since then, the city has done smaller projects as financing allowed completing Ill. 64 lighting and most of the curb and gutter and sidewalk from Second Street to Sixth Street.

The ITEP grant offered a 80 percent - 20 percent match for Designated Historic Districts, a designation the city achieved in 2006, Bowers said. Because Oregon has the historic district designation, the grant became an 80-20 grant rather than a 50-50 grant.

The state grant will provide $525,760 toward the project with the remainder, $131,442, coming from city coffers.

“This is disappointing since we were ready to get started on this project this year, but we will keep the business owners and residents informed of our progress and the start date for construction as soon as we can determine when it will be,” said Bowers. “I would like to thank the mayor and city commissioners for their support and ‘behind the scenes’ efforts to expedite this project.”

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