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Normal Town Council set to award nearly $4M water contract for Main Street project

Map of Main Street project area
Town of Normal
This map shows where work is planned for a Main Street water main replacement project. The Normal Town Council is expected to award a contract to George Gildner Inc., to oversee the nearly $4 million project.

A nearly $4 million plan to replace the water main on two busy stretches of the Main Street corridor comes before the Normal Town Council on Monday.

Town staff recommends the contract go to George Gildner Inc., the low bidder of two bids received.

If approved, Gildner would order materials, with work set for a year from now. The extensive project would need to pause in winter, with expected completion in spring 2024.

Work will focus on two lengths of Main Street — from Division Street to Virginia Avenue, and further north from Beaufort Street to College Avenue. The project covers about 5,000 feet of water main, and also includes installing new water valves, water services, and fire hydrants.

The cast iron water mains to be replaced are some of the oldest mains in town, and are considered substandard, according to council materials prepared for the meeting.

Despite Gildner’s $3.9 million bid being slightly lower than the other of two bids, it still is 51% higher than the engineer’s estimate of about $2.5 million.

The water department’s capital budget has funds to put about $2.5 million toward the project, while nearly $1.5 million being reimbursed from the Main and Osage tax increment financing (TIF) district.

Normal says timing is important here, because the Illinois Department of Transportation includes a major Main Street improvement project on its five-year capital plan. The town doesn't want to rip up the improved roads to replace aging water mains; it’s better to do the main work first, says staff.

Creating more housing opportunities

Also Monday, the council is set to act on two separate projects aimed at boosting housing options in Normal.

Looking at northeast Normal, the final plats for the fourth and fifth additions to Blackstone Trails subdivision are on the agenda.

If approved, the neighborhood on the northeast corner of Hershey and Shepard roads, could result in the 12-plus acres adding 60 lots for single-family detached homes.

Blackstone Trails subdivision was annexed into Normal more than 12 years ago. The first two additions expanded the space in 2013 and 2019, and the third in June of this year.

Normal’s comprehensive plan targets northeast Normal for more residential construction.

Over in northwest Normal, up for consideration is a plan to rezone three acres at the corner of Parkside and Raab roads, from commercial to R-3 medium density.

Similar usage already is happening nearby, at The Lofts Northend, a multi-family residential development at the corner of Raab Road and Trumbull Avenue.

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Michele Steinbacher is a WGLT correspondent. She joined the staff in 2020.
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