WOODSTOCK – Elected leaders have started a campaign to ask state lawmakers to allocate $4.7 million toward improving the southern intersection of Routes 47 and 176.
A coalition of municipal and county representatives wrote to Gov. Pat Quinn last week asking him and the General Assembly to free up money needed to upgrade what County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill called in her letter “the last significant underdeveloped intersection in the county.”
Improving the intersection, which is located in Lakewood, would improve traffic flow and safety – the Illinois Department of Transportation in past years has ranked the intersection among the more dangerous in the state – and contribute to economic development, Village President Erin Smith said.
“That broad support [from local governments] is in place because these improvements have broad implications for our county,” Smith said.
Proposed improvements include shifting Pleasant Valley Road about 500 feet south to create a four-way intersection, building two through lanes in each direction, dual left-turn lanes and single right-turn lanes on Route 47.
Upgrading the intersection has been highlighted as a priority under a first-phase IDOT plan for improving Route 47 between Reed Road in Huntley and Route 14 in Woodstock. It also is prioritized in the county’s 2030 Land Use Plan and the most recent transportation priority projects list by the McHenry County Council of Governments.
About 40,000 vehicles travel the intersection daily.
“Timely completion of these projects will improve the quality of life for residents and increase the economic vitality of the county by improving safety, easing traffic congestion and increasing access to locations throughout the county,” council of governments President Rick Mack wrote in his letter.
Also backing the project in writing were the leaders of Woodstock, Huntley, Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills, and the McHenry County Economic Development Corp.
The MCEDC letter from President Pam Cumpata pointed out the county’s higher-than-average unemployment rate. McHenry County’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent as of April, according to numbers released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The national rate was 7.5 percent in April, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
“Not only will the proposed intersection improvement enhance transportation safety, but it will bring greater economic opportunity to the area and help to provide quality job opportunities to local residents,” Cumpata wrote.