Kane County says its making headway on Longmeadow Parkway project
By Erin Sauder For Sun-Times Media February 21, 2014 1:16PM
Tom Rickert, deputy director for the Kane County Department of Transportaiton, gives an update on the Longmeadow Parkway bridge project to the dozens of people who attended the forum Friday at the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce office in Carpentersville. | Erin Sauder for Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 23, 2014 2:50AM
CARPENTERSVILLE — When it comes to the Longmeadow Parkway bridge project, officials involved want the community to know it’s progressing.
“There is movement,” said Kane County Board member Becky Gillam (R-West Dundee). “Just because things have been quiet doesn’t mean it’s not moving along.”
On Friday, an update on that movement was given during a forum held at the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce office in Carpentersville.
More than 50 people were in attendance to hear from Tom Rickert, deputy director for KDOT, about the project, one that has been decades in the making.
The roadway is to run from Huntley Road on the west to Route 62 on the east — crossing Randall Road, Route 31, the Fox River and Route 25. Twelve municipalities along the way have signed resolutions of support for the project.
Currently, Phase II engineering is underway on the project.
“We probably have 10 more months of engineering left,” Rickert said.
About 60 percent of the acreage needed for the project has been acquired.
“But we still have about 60 parcels we need to acquire over the next 18 months,” Rickert said.
Once construction begins, which could happen in 2015, the project is expected to take two years to complete.
Officials said the project is proceeding as a four-lane bridge/corridor, rather than a two-lane.
“We are more and more erring on the side of it’s better to just build the full facility that to have to come back in 10 years and reconstruct it and add additional lanes,” Rickert said.
To help pay for the project, officials would open it as a toll road. The tolls would range from $1.50 at peak times to $1 at off-peak times.
“One of the concerns by Kane County was, ‘Why are we building this when half of the trips are being made by people from McHenry County?’,” Rickert said. “The tolls facilitates that users from McHenry County are also paying for the bridge.”
To date, the county has spent about $20 million on preliminary work on the bridge. Construction costs are estimated to be between $87 million and $117 million.
The county has said that roughly half the project cost — between $50 million and $75 million — would be covered by issuing bonds. State and federal funding, local funding, and the tolls would help make up the difference.
The purpose of the parkway is to decrease congestion on the north end of Kane County.
Officials said it can take nearly 45 minutes to travel a few miles during rush hour on routes 62, 72 and 31. The population west of the Fox River also has increased 10-fold since the 1980s. Currently, high volumes of regional traffic are being directed to Carpentersville’s local Main Street bridge through neighborhoods on the east side of the Fox River.
The bridge is also expected to improve accessibility to businesses in Algonquin, Carpentersville, and East and West Dundee and increase their downtown viability.
Carpentersville resident Dorothy Villegas, who attended Friday’s forum, is happy about the project.
“I think it’s very exciting and it’s going to mean less congestion,” she said.