Editorial: Street renovations needed, welcome addition

Street reconstruction is always useful. It improves the look of the city. It helps tourists and citizens alike. The City of Charleston came through again in financing the repairs and keeps of Charleston. That is because projects like resurfacing streets and sealing cracks save the city money in the long term, said Public Works Director Curt Buescher.

“The idea of performing maintenance on our existing streets … does save money,” Buescher said. “That’s, overall, something we have not done a good enough job at historically.”

Within the past year there was a commitment to fix the problems with the streets and sidewalks on Fourth Street.

Another project completed this summer was the replacement of the Jackson Avenue Bridge at Division Street and Jackson Avenue.

Buescher said the city plans to resurface Polk Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, adding new pavement, curbing and retaining walls. Later this summer, the city will also repave a stretch of Fourth Street between Madison Avenue and Olive Street.

Buescher said the city also plans to repair broken sidewalks around the city.

“We’ve got a lot of sidewalk work at various locations,” he said.

Officials plan to seal many of the cracks on city streets, Buescher said, simply patching these cracks only puts off new cracks for a few years.

“We’re routing out the old cracks and sealing them,” Buescher said. “The general principle behind that is water gets into the cracks … and through the freeze-thaw cycle, those cracks get bigger.”

The city is also receiving $600,000 of federal economic stimulus money through the Illinois Department of Transportation to fund additional street repairs. With those funds, Buescher said, the city plans to rebuild parts of West Polk Avenue and rebuild intersections along Lincoln Avenue, including University Avenue, Division Street and Fourth Street.

These projects have benefited Eastern students, and city officials should be commended for what they are doing.

They keep plugging away on projects in the city that are meant to make things easier and safer for students and residents who make the walk from Eastern’s campus to the city’s square uptown.

We’ve already seen the results of renovation and experience its benefits firsthand. Last year’s renovation of Fourth Street provides a completely different, yet safer, experience for both drivers and pedestrians. Renovating other high traffic areas is a welcome change to the community and will help keep Charleston well-kept for future generations.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at [email protected].