It looks like a bumper crop of orange cones, barricades and flaggers this year in McHenry County.
And driver frustration.
Don’t ask us what governments were thinking, or whether they were thinking, when they decided to work on almost every north-south traffic artery at the same time. Whatever it is they did or didn’t think, motorists have to deal with it this summer construction season.
Work is ongoing along several stretches of Route 31 between McHenry and Algonquin.
Driving south, you’ll first hit the widening and repaving project between Ames and Edgewood roads near Prairie Grove. When you get to Crystal Lake, you run into the rebuilding of Route 31’s intersections with Klasen and Virginia roads, and widening of Route 31 farther south. Storm sewer and drainage work is starting on the long-delayed Algonquin Western Bypass.
As for the obvious alternate routes, Pingree Road in Crystal Lake is closed from Congress Parkway north to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Likewise, work on the next phase of the Walkup Road project is under way. That delay will turn into a closure this summer, but workers pushed it back from mid-June.
Don’t expect any more relief on Route 47. Parts north and south of Woodstock are down to one lane as workers repave it between Woodstock and Hebron, and from Route 176 south to Huntley.
But here’s one piece of good news – work is finished except for minor punch-list stuff on the two-year Route 47 widening project through Huntley. But because construction news always has to come in a good news-bad news format, we should warn you that work is starting in June on a full interchange for Route 47 and Interstate 90.
Route 176 is one of several east-west arteries that could make for driver delays, too, because of two Crystal Lake intersection projects. Workers are rebuilding Route 176’s intersections with Walkup Road and Briarwood Road.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is installing a traffic light at Route 120 and Fleming Road east of Woodstock. So if you’re one of those drivers who likes careening around the westbound curve at high speed, you may want to rethink that.
The biggest project for east-west roads is, of course, the ongoing project to widen Rakow Road and end one of the county’s worst commuter nightmares. The two-year project, which will widen Rakow to six lanes from Ackman to Pyott roads, and to four lanes from Pyott Road to Route 31, could be substantially complete by late fall, weather permitting.