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Large road construction projects can be self-defeating

Published: Saturday, March 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

To the Editor:

There is road construction and there is road construction.

Unfortunately, the Illinois Toll Highway Authority is about to tear up the Jane Addams Tollway (Interstate 90) for an unneeded widening. This tollway has been in continuous construction mode for years.

Worse than that is the plan to seize the one “free” alternative to I-90, the Elgin-O’Hare expressway, and impose tolls. The worst would be the plan to extend Highway 53 northbound into ecologically sensitive land in western Lake and northeastern McHenry counties. To fleece us for all of this construction, they nearly doubled the cost of all tolls during 2012.

Large expressway projects (toll or free) are also self-defeating in that any congestion relief is only temporary; these projects are sprawl engines and will create growth that will clog them again.

Some road construction is good. It’s better to widen existing arterial highways. For example, I look forward to the completion of the upcoming widening to five lanes of Route 14 between Crystal Lake and Woodstock. Similarly, I applaud McHenry County for the recent completion of the Rakow Road widening project.

Just some quibbles with that, including the fact that they failed to take this opportunity to realign new north-south roads – McHenry Avenue and Randall Road – to flow into each other. Why promulgate the counterintuitive flow of northbound Randall into a perpendicular eastbound Rakow?

Also counterintuitive: one turning lane from southbound McHenry Avenue flows into a temporary lane that ends at Alexandra, forcing traffic into a dangerous merge.

Stan Perrin

Crystal Lake

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