Woodstock's Route 14, Route 47 projects hit snags

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Motorists who've long been riding their brakes on Route 14 between Crystal Lake and Woodstock might be annoyed to find the state is doing the same on a plan to remedy the congestion.

The project to expand from two to five lanes from Crystal Lake Avenue in Crystal Lake to West Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock originally was scheduled for construction during the summer of 2012. But it was pushed back a year because the state had trouble acquiring right of way, the Illinois Department of Transportation told Woodstock officials.

Now there could be funding issues, and Woodstock officials say they've been given an updated January 2014 letting date.

"I had heard that funding was one of [the reasons], and I had also heard that it took longer to gain acquisition of right of way," City Engineer Al Wilson said.

Calls to IDOT for this and a previous story on the plans have gone unreturned.

Meanwhile, Woodstock chose not to insert its financial involvement in the project into the FY 2013-14 budget.

The city has agreed to move utilities for the project, and estimated its involvement would cost about $238,000. Wilson said the city doesn't plan to start that work until spring 2014 at the earliest. But, he noted, IDOT doesn't need to wait for the utilities to be moved before starting some portions of the project.

He said the city is eager to get the project underway.

"Obviously, the sooner the better," he said.

Route 14 isn't the only road improvement Woodstock residents have been waiting on. They've long been looking forward to another state project to widen Route 47 from Route 14 to Charles Road, in the process adding touches such as sidewalks and bike paths.

But during his State of the City address earlier this month, Mayor Brian Sager estimated that project is still at least 15 years away.

Interim Public Works Director Jeff Van Landuyt said Tuesday he's trying to stay optimistic that the time frame could be nearer than Sager's prediction.

The project has passed IDOT's first phase, but is yet to be included in the state's five-year capital improvement plan, Van Landuyt said.

"In order to move to phase two or phase three, it needs funding," he said. "And that's what it's lacking."

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