Brookfield motorists can officially begin contemplating alternate routes through the village, with the advent of the road construction season next month.

Derek Treichel, Brookfield’s village engineer, told members of the village board’s Infrastructure Subcommittee last week that he expects roadwork on Prairie Avenue between 31st Street and Washington Avenue to begin in April and last until August. During that time, the street will be closed to through traffic.

“Traffic will be shut down to through traffic completely,” Treichel said, adding that residents will be able to access garages via Garfield, Jackson and Monroe avenues.

Prairie Avenue will be widened by one foot on each side of the street, and new curbs, gutters and driveway aprons will be installed in addition to a complete reconstruction of the pavement. Work crews will also install some 350 feet of 8-inch water main underneath the south sidewalk on Washington Avenue from Prairie Avenue to Forest Avenue.

This summer’s work on Prairie Avenue is the first phase of a two-year project. In 2007, improvements will be made to Prairie Avenue between Washington Avenue and Brookfield Avenue. The two-year, $1.8 million project has received funding from the federal government, with Brookfield paying for 25 percent of the cost from money it receives annually from motor fuel taxes.

Other 2006 street work

While that roadwork is underway, village officials are also planning for roadwork south of the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe tracks if a referendum to impose a 1-percent local sales tax is approved by voters on March 21.

The Infrastructure Committee, which includes Village President Michael Garvey and trustees Alan Dorobiala and Kit Ketchmark, agreed last week that if the referendum is successful, the village would resurface Elm and Park between Southview Avenue and Ogden Avenue as well as Oak and Sunnyside avenues between Burlington Avenue and Ogden Avenue.

The cost for resurfacing those eight or so blocks, and performing storm sewer and combined sewer repairs, is estimated at $1.38 million. The street resurfacing portion of that amount alone is estimated at $943,400.

While the village has enough money in its water/sewer fund to cover debt service on bonds for sewer system improvements related to that project, it currently does not have any revenue source, besides motor fuel tax (MFT) receipts, dedicated for street resurfacing.

As a result, if the March 21 sales tax referendum is defeated, it is unlikely that additional street resurfacing project will happen in 2006.

“We can never do close to $1 million if the referendum doesn’t pass,” Garvey said. “If we start pulling MFT money out for residential projects we can’t keep participating in grants for the collector routes. From a policy standpoint it doesn’t make sense.”

If the sales tax referendum does not pass in March, the village board could opt to ask voters for the increase again in the fall or seek a property tax increase to raise money for road improvements.

If the referendum does succeed in March, the board would likely discuss a potential bond issue at its March 27 meeting. The village will then have to wait 30 days before it will be able to issue the bonds, probably at its May 8 meeting.

Treichel said that based on that timeline, construction on the streets south of the railroad tracks would not begin until at least June 1.