Now that spring is finally here, you can expect to see construction projects to begin to pop up all over the city.  Street repair and overlays, alley work, drainage projects, sidewalks, and more.  And the city needs it.  A majority of the calls and emails I receive in Ward 8 are infrastructure related, and I know that it’s the same city wide.

In 2014, the city repaved 51 miles of asphalt roads and completed 5 miles of concrete patching.  I know that my constituents in Ward 8 were very appreciative as the streets that were resurfaced were among the worst in the city.  If you were curious, crumbling curbs and gutters, eroding in front of driveways, potholes, and cracking all go into calculating the rating system.  This year, Springfield residents can expect 45 miles of asphalt resurfacing, 5 miles of concrete patching, and new this year, 5 miles of brick street repair.  Ward 8 has several brick streets, and it will be nice to see the dips, buckles and concrete patches be repaired with the original style of brickwork.

In 2014, the city repaired 12.5 miles of alleys.  This year, you can expect to see 20 miles of alley repairs.  Priority is given to alleys where the homeowner has to use the alley to access the street.

Sidewalks are a big deal in Springfield.  In 2014, new sidewalks and sidewalk repairs totaled over 400,000 square feet, and 1140 ADA ramps were installed.  In 2015, residents can expect to see another 400,000 square feet of either new sidewalk or repairs, and another 1000 ADA ramps.  I know that at my first house, I used to laugh about having to mow the sidewalk from all the cracks and grass that grew in it.  People trip over sidewalks that have caved in or had a tree root buckle them upward.  These are the type of repairs Public Works is looking for when they calculate the rating for the sidewalk repairs.

In 2014, the city had 40 major drainage projects that were completed, including 30 spot improvements.  For 2015, you can expect another 40 drainage projects.  Drainage projects include ditches, inlet repair, storm sewer drains, and areas that flood regularly.  I know a lot of intersections, especially ones at the bottom of a slope, will flood with the heavy rains we have been receiving in recent years, and Ward 8 has its fair share of those.

The city council approved Public Works to purchase 2 new street sweepers last year, as the ones we had were constantly needing repair.  It is my hope that the new equipment will mean that we will see the street sweepers in our neighborhoods more often.

I don’t know how the other Aldermen prioritize their infrastructure improvements, but in Ward 8 my only request is to try to spread the projects throughout the ward, and not focus on one neighborhood over another.  I let the Public Works staff do their job and schedule the projects based on the ratings and conditions, not on politics.  I think our city has a lot to be proud of, and these infrastructure improvements should add to that.

Kris Theilen

Ward 8 Alderman, 2007 – now

1124 Larchmont Dr

Springfield, IL  62704