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Pekin city engineer says big construction projects are moving along smoothly

Orange barrels on Derby Street in Pekin in February.
City of Pekin
Consruction work work on the section of Derby Street from 8th to 14th Street is set to wrap up next month.

City Engineer Josie Esker has high hopes that various construction projects in Pekin will be done soon.

The list of projects currently being completed includes rehabilitating Derby Street by replacing the road and fixing the storm sewers, as well furthering improvements on Court Street.

The Court Street project is broken up into three different stages. In 2021, the first section stretched from Veterans Drive to Hilltop Drive. That was completed in 2021.

The second stage, from Hilltop Drive to Stadium Drive, will include work to curb, sidewalks, a new asphalt surface and more. Once that is complete, work from Stadium Drive to 8th Street will begin. That's the final leg of the three-phase, multi-year overhaul.

Meanwhile, the work on the section of Derby Street from 8th to 14th Street is set to wrap up next month.

“We’ve been trying to focus on our bigger roads that more people travel on so that we can impact the most people,” Esker said.

While construction comes to a close, Esker said projects have remained on their original timelines. Some are even ahead of schedule, something Esker credits as the biggest success so far.

Despite the amount of work that's needed to be done in the city, the costs of construction did not rise throughout the project.

However, as with any large city project ,there were also struggles along the way. The amount of traffic on the streets getting work done has been the hardest thing to manage.

“We have a lot of traffic control switches because we have to do work on all areas on the road and it leads to driver confusion,” Esker said.

Facebook and the department's website are a great way to keep those in Pekin updated and involved with what is going on in their hometown, she added.

“I feel like [construction] goes better when people know there are changes coming,” Esker said. “I’ve been trying to post any traffic control changes in advance, any road closures in advance…It just helps everybody work together and be in the know enough to be part of the team.”

While there is still work to be done, Esker said her team and their work deserve recognition for what they've accomplished so far.

“I think this council that we have right now is extremely pro-road projects and I think that’s what is allowing us to get as much done this year as we are,” Esker said