$6.5 million Main Street widening project in the works

CRYSTAL LAKE – City officials took the first step toward implementing a $6.5 million road project that would widen Main Street and improve access to the Route 14 commercial corridor.

The project would widen South Main Street to a five-lane section from Liberty Drive to Jennings Drive and create a continuous four-lane roadway between Rakow Road and Crystal Lake Avenue.

It also would eliminate the traffic bottleneck at the south entrance to the Route 14 commercial corridor.

Of the $6.5 million, $1.5 million would come from federal sources, while the city and McHenry County would fund the rest of the project.

McHenry County will fund improvements to its section of the roadway, which includes the Main Street and Pyott Road intersection as well as two sections of Virginia Road.

Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley said the project is another example of the city maximizing resources to pursue needed improvements.

“I think the city has done just as much, if not more, than others in the area when it comes to pursuing federal and county money to help with these major projects,” Shepley said. “It helps take a bit of the load off the shoulders of Crystal Lake residents.”

The council will need to decide on a couple of design options, including a median along South Main Street from north of Berkshire Drive to south of Liberty Road and a new crosswalk connecting Prairie Trail to Three Oaks Recreation Area.

Council members on Tuesday said they preferred two overhead pedestrian crossing beacons for maximum visibility to oncoming vehicles and asked city staff to meet with Curran Contracting about installing an 11-foot-wide, raised curb median with trees and plantings for beautification near Three Oaks Recreation Area. Curran Contracting owns part of that parcel.

Abigail Wilgreen, assistant city engineer, said other options for a median could include a plain raised concrete median or just a striped center on the pavement. Wilgreen also said the hope is to have plans finalized in time to start construction in spring 2014.

During construction, two-way traffic will be maintained along South Main Street with traffic staging and flaggers to control flow.

Shepley said he hopes traffic delays will be minimal and praised residents for their patience during recent major traffic projects including the Walkup Road and Route 176 overhaul and the Pingree Road improvements.

“The fun never stops,” he said of road construction. “But the community has been very, very patient with construction, and the feedback I always receive when it’s done has been very positive, so that’s great.”

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