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Cars travel east on Bolz Road near the Longmeadow Parkway’s new bridge that’s not done yet east of the Fox River. (Paul Valade | Staff Photographer)

Standing at the dead end of a private road just west of the new Longmeadow Parkway bridge over Route 31 is the convergence of all the love and hate for the decadeslong effort to create a new Fox River crossing in northern Kane County.

The private road ends with a panoramic view of some of the key improvements the 5.6-mile Longmeadow project brings. There will be less rush-hour traffic congestion, new business development, and access to the Cook, Kane and McHenry counties’ borders, all within minutes once construction ends.

But while overlooking that progress from the private road with a group of people wearing neon green Kane County Division of Transportation construction vests, there is the distinct feeling of being watched by some of the neighbors who long opposed the project.

“You have to kind of keep an eye out,” said county board member Drew Frasz. “Some of these people are not our biggest fans.”

That’s nothing new for Frasz. As chairman of the county board’s transportation committee, he’s spent the entire construction process defending the project and answering criticism, including from some of his fellow board members. To him, when the project is finished, it will be the culmination of the plans and desires of all the communities affected by it.

Driving the parkway, Frasz points to land set aside by community leaders in Algonquin and Carpentersville who envisioned a Longmeadow that fuels a new heyday for their communities.

Read more here.

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Fig 1 62

“WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?

In our last newsletter (December 2020), we described the additional analysis and evaluation required to select the preferred alternative due to the presence of federally listed threatened and endangered species: Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly and Rusty Patched Bumblebee. Over the last year, the project team has continued coordinating with agencies such as the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPDCC), the US Geological Survey (USGS), and the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) to conduct the Biological Assessment (BA). The BA analyzes and determines the project’s effect on these species and/or their critical habitat, and documents the measures taken to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate the impacts.

Two critical elements of the BA are the groundwater monitoring and analysis, which will be completed in early 2022, and the prescribed burn of the Spring Creek Forest Preserve, which was completed in 2021. You may have also noticed crews trudging through the marshy areas along IL 62 in the late fall as shown in Figure 2 (below). These crews are delineating wetlands within the Spring Creek Forest Preserve to help better identify potential habitat for the Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly within the study area. We anticipate the wetland delineation to be completed in the spring of 2022.

Fig 2 62

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

Once the BA is complete, the project team can continue analyzing the impacts of the two remaining alternatives and select a preferred alternative. While the two remaining alternatives are both 4-lanes, one has shoulders, and one has curb and gutter. After the preferred alternative is selected, geometric and drainage improvements, and non-motorized accommodations will be refined and presented to stakeholders.”

A copy of the update can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Longmeadow Signs

New traffic signals at the intersections of Longmeadow Parkway and Route 25 and Longmeadow Parkway and Bolz Road have been activated by the Kane County Division of Transportation.

Both sets of lights are part of the 5.6-mile Longmeadow Parkway, which begins at Huntley Road in Huntley, crosses through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, and ends at Route 62.

Some of the parkway is now open to traffic, but the toll bridge over the Fox River to Route 31 and the section of road from Route 31 east over the river to Route 25 remain under construction.

In October, Division of Transportation officials said delays have occurrec because of steel and semiconductor shortages, price increases for materials, and the removal of lead-contaminated soil found east of the bridge site, where an outdoor shooting range once was located.

Construction on the $115 million project began in early 2016 and the entire corridor is now planned to be open sometime in early 2022, according to the county transportation division website, kdot.countyofkane.org.

Read more from the Elgin Courier-News here.

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With so many candidates running for various offices, we’d like to remind readers of the candidates The Barrington Hills Observer wholeheartedly endorses:

Pres VBHTrustee VBH220 VBH 1HC VBHBAL VBHBHPD VBH

If you haven’t already, Please Vote tomorrow! 

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The Illinois Department of Transportation posted an update last month on the progress of the proposed widening of the IL 25 to 68 corridor of Route 62 in Barrington Hills. A copy of their report can be viewed and downloaded here.

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The Village Board of Trustees will be holding their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for an Expansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road
  • An Ordinance Approving a Map Amendment Rezoning the Property Located at 32W 393 Algonquin Road from R1 Single Family Residence District to B-3 General Business District
  • Resolution Authorizing the Village’s Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement and Subrecipient Agreement with the County of Kane for Coronavirus Relief Funds

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. Those wishing to try to listing in on the meeting can phone 508-924-1464.

Related:Mosque replica planned for 160 Hawthorne Road?andKane County sending $27.5 million in federal relief to communities

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Beginning tomorrow, July 8th, Bolz Road will be closed to traffic between Sandbloom Road and the entrance to the stone quarry for 8 to 10 weeks, weather permitting, to allow construction crews to safely and efficiently construct the new Bolz Road roadway realignment and install new watermain and storm sewer. Traffic will be routed around Bolz Road using Sandbloom Road, IL 62 and IL 25 as shown below:

Motorist are advised to watch for construction workers, construction vehicles entering or leaving the closed roadway, and obey flaggers and other traffic control devices bordering the work zone.

The full KDOT press release can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Tolls along the Longmeadow Parkway will become a reality after a Tuesday morning vote by the full Kane County Board. The vote ensures completion of the newest bridge to span the Fox River in the far northern portion of the county. The bridge will open in 2022.

Kane County has its first toll bridge, though a last-minute amendment could have added tolls to two other county bridge crossings.

Tolls along the Longmeadow Parkway will become a reality after a Tuesday morning vote by the full Kane County Board. The vote ensures completion of the newest bridge to span the Fox River in the far northern portion of the county. The bridge will open in 2022.

That last-minute amendment came from county board member Chris Kious, who said the Longmeadow Parkway tolls represent an unfair cost to his constituents. He pointed to the Stearns Road and Fabyan Parkway bridges as two county projects that allow toll-free crossings.

“By passing this (toll), you are subjecting the residents of the northernmost part of this county to pay an extra tax/user fee for the use of this Kane County bridge, which they have to use to access each side of their own villages,” Kious said. “No other roadway in the county has such a toll.”

Read more here.

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The village of Barrington Hills is making plans to improve the 5-mile stretch of Algonquin Road between Routes 25 and 68. 

Algonquin Road, also known as Route 62, is being studied to determine whether it should be widened.

The project is in Phase 1, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Phase 1 should cost about $3.5 million, said Guy Tridgell, director of communications for the Illinois Department of Transportation.  

The improvements are in response to the construction of the Longmeadow Parkway Tollway Bridge, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin said. The bridge will span the Fox River and connect Randall Road in the west to Algonquin Road in the east, increasing traffic by about 8,000 cars on Algonquin Road.

Read more from the Northwest Herald here.

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With an expansion of Algonquin Road through the Barrington area all be certain in the next few years, Barrington Hills is urging a different approach, and we hope the Illinois Department of Transportation continues to give it serious consideration.

As Bob Susnjara reported Monday, Barrington Hills is pitching the idea of turning Algonquin Road into a so-called scenic parkway, a roadway that would fit into, rather than obliterate, the bucolic, natural setting of northwest Cook County. Algonquin Road cuts through Spring Lake Forest Preserve on its way to the northern Fox Valley.

“It should kind of honor the open space, natural setting that the Cook County Forest Preserve is trying to maintain and what we’re trying to maintain in our community,” Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin told Susnjara.

This is a new approach, and one that reflects the increasing interest in preserving the environment of much of the suburban area — hand in hand, of course, with finding better ways to move frustrating amounts of traffic on a daily basis.

Continue reading the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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