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Officials to meet on Prairie Parkway funding future

Updated: March 8, 2013 7:26AM

YORKVILLE — Federal, state and local officials will meet this month to discuss what will happen to federal funding once reserved for the Prairie Parkway.

State Rep. Tom Cross, the House Republican leader, has called the meeting for 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at a fire station in Oswego.

In a letter to Kendall County Board Chairman John Shaw, Cross’ office said the meeting will not be a public forum, but “an informal meeting of a small group of interested parties who have a direct interest in the future of Route 47.”

The meeting will include Shaw and Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, as well as representatives of local governmental bodies along Route 47, officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation, officials from U.S. Rep Randy Hultgren’s office, and other area legislators, the letter said.

The letter added the size of the meeting is being limited “so that effective and productive communication may occur amongst the attendees …”

Shaw told the Kendall County Board Tuesday, at its regular monthly meeting, that he believes a letter the board authorized two weeks ago contributed to Kendall County being invited to the Feb. 14 meeting. The letter was from Shaw, approved by the whole board, to state and federal officials, telling them Kendall wanted to be part of any discussion on the future of the former Prairie Parkway money.

“This meeting has been in the works since before we sent the letter,” Shaw said. “You’re to be commended for sending it, or we might not have been part of the meeting.”

Shaw said his interest is keeping as much of the money left in Kendall County as possible. Officials in both Kane and Kendall counties have pushed for the money to be spent along Route 47. There are three major widening projects along the state highway in various levels of readiness in Kane and Kendall counties, including the widening through Yorkville, which is set to start any time.

But Shaw said Lauzen has indicated to him that completing the cloverleaf at Interstate 88 and Route 47 is Kane’s highest priority. Right now, the interchange there only exits from one side and enters from one side.

“I’m not in favor of pushing the money up there, to I-88,” Shaw said. “I don’t see how that’s going to benefit Kendall County.”

He is particularly concerned because a recent upgrading of an interchange at Brisbane Road and I-80, in Grundy County, reached a pricetag of almost $200 million. With an estimated $100 million left of the Prairie Parkway money, it could all be eaten up at the I-88, Route 47 interchange, Shaw said.

Kendall officials are hoping the money will be spent on Route 47 or possibly on the proposed Eldamain Road bridge over the Fox River.

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