Winnebago County Board members discuss plan for road work

ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) -- In 2022 the Winnebago County Board will makes its final payment in an outstanding bond issue, which will provide more money. But for now, the funds to fix road conditions are limited.

New plan to fund minor construction needs

"That's kind of the idea, to try to make do with what we've got to the greatest extent possible," says county board member Dave Kelley. "There is light at the end of the tunnel in a few years if we can just kind of get by until then."

The idea is Winnebago County Highway engineer Joseph Vanderwerff's plan to use current funds to fix worn out roads. His plan places roads into five categories based on construction needs.

"He sounded like he's fairly confident we can address the first four categories," says Kelley. "The fifth category which is the complete reconstruction, we will have to see how much money we have to be able to dedicate to that."

Board members say the fifth category includes roads like the Riverside at Alpine and Forest Hill intersections. Those projects would need either federal or local monetary assistance to fund.

Board member Dave Tassoni says the new motor-fuel tax could generate money to go toward these projects.

"We're looking at $400,000 for the additional time that's left in this year, and upwards of $2.5 million in 2020." However, Vanderwerff explained even that would not cover the necessary amount he needs to fully reconstruct roads.

"Building a complete new road, you're talking millions of dollars per mile of road, versus just the few hundred [thousand dollars] that we're spending right now to just do very basic maintainence," says Tassoni.

Board members will meet in a few weeks to discuss the exact amount of money they will allocate.