NORMAL — One of Normal's busiest intersections is getting upgrades this summer, including better accessibility for the vision-impaired.
The town will improve the intersection of College Avenue and University Street, near Illinois State University's Bone Student Center, as part of road resurfacing — with the university picking up the cost of new, audible walk signals at all four corners.
"This has a speaking, audible voice, so the user will hear ... 'Please wait to cross College' after they press (the button) to cross. It will then say, 'It's safe to cross College,' or some variation of that," said Town Engineer Ryan Otto.
"You will hear a chirping for activation; for a visually-impaired person to find the button, it actually has a beacon that gets louder with background noise."
On Monday, the Normal City Council will consider an agreement for ISU to pay $24,000 toward the system. Otto noted the town put in a similar system at Towanda Avenue and Vernon Avenue in the last few years.
The town plans to resurface College, from School Street to Kingsley Street, as part of $2.5 million in resurfacing this summer. Reece said associated work includes sidewalk, ramp and traffic signal improvements.
Other streets to get work are:
- Broadway Avenue from Vernon to Phoenix avenues;
- College from Beech Street to Blair Drive;
- Gregory Street from Main to Adelaide streets;
- School from Mulberry to Willow streets;
- Shelbourne Drive from School to Constitution Trail's central branch; and
- Vernon from Linden Street to Grandview Drive
Officials expect lane closures, but no major disruptions during the work, Normal Assistant City Manager Eric Hanson said previously.
The city council meets 7 p.m. Monday on the fourth floor at Uptown Station.
In other business, the council will consider:
• Whether to continue to pursue back fees on land owned by council member Stan Nord.
Before he was elected, Nord told the town he won't pay a sanitary sewer "tap-on" activation fee for land he bought in 2017 at 2012 W. College Ave. which would otherwise have been paid before sewer service was turned on there.
Town staff is continuing to pursue the fee — it's increased from $6,700 to $11,900 due to changes in lot size.
"I would have to recuse myself from any of those discussions. I can't be involved in it," said Nord the night before the recent election of how he would approach the potential conflict of interest. "This is just somebody having a dispute over a fee. ... (Members) absolutely need the right to ask a question and see if the fee's right (like other residents)."
Reece said town staff has recommended Nord step away from the council dais and speak from the public table when addressing the issue on Monday.
• A $740,000 water main project through Stark Excavating, Bloomington.
The project will connect two "pressure zones" and provide a redundancy in the case of malfunctions, said Reece. She said the change isn't due to a particular incident, but is a scheduled capital project.