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Marengo's interchange plans at Route 23, I-90 move forward

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MARENGO – The Marengo City Council has taken the next step toward bringing an interchange to Marengo, as officials now will began securing financial commitments and developing conceptual designs.

The council earlier this week authorized, 7-1, a $74,000 contract with the McHenry engineering firm HR Green to develop preliminary interchange designs by October.

The work is needed to show the Illinois Tollway Authority how a full interchange at Route 23 and Interstate 90 would affect traffic along the Route 23 bridge. The tollway has been designing a renovation to the bridge as part of its Interstate 90 widening project from Chicago to Rockford.

“The worst thing for Marengo is for the Tollway to do that [bridge] design and not accommodate what we need there and have to rip down a new bridge that is designed to last 50 years,” said David Johanson, a HR Green engineer contracted as the city’s engineer.

Johanson and others at HR Green now will start developing conceptual designs that will detail traffic patterns and other demands a new interchange would bring to the area of Route 23 and I-90.

They also will assist city officials with negotiations with interested state and local stakeholders looking to contribute financially to a Route 23/I-90 interchange. They will look to secure commitments in a similar way neighboring Huntley did with its interchange project at Route 47 and I-90.

City Manager Gary Boden said the new contract with HR Green will help the city define how an interchange will be built and the timetable for building it. Construction, he said, likely will not happen until a few years from now, if the Tollway approves of the city’s initial design effort later this fall.

“This $74,000 we are going to spend is going to actually force the discussion about when we’ll get this interchange,” Boden said. “It’s not a question of whether. It’s a question of when.”

The city was allowed to start the preliminary planning work after successfully extending its southwestern boundaries far enough to reach the area of I-90. The city so far has annexed roughly 1,600 acres of Riley Township’s territory into city limits, despite numerous concerns from Riley officials.

The administration plans to present the council with annexation agreements totaling 352 acres during the council’s meeting June 24. Roughly 500 acres that border I-90 to the north and south would be left for aldermen to decide in July, Boden said.

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