To cautious optimism, Route 47 enters next phase

WOODSTOCK – A road project playing dead the last couple of years found a pulse this week.

City officials were told Monday that planned Route 47 improvements from Charles Road in Woodstock to Reed Road in Huntley have made a long-awaited move into phase two, a planning and specifications phase in preparation for the final phase – construction.

The project has for the first time been added to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s multiyear highway plan.

It’s a necessary step, but one that has city officials feeling only slightly more optimistic for the future.

Mayor Brian Sager adjusted his estimation from about a month ago, that construction was still at least 15 years in the distance.

“If I were to be a little more optimistic, I think it might be a dozen years in the future,” he said, adding the news was “gratifying and very pleasing.”

The project would widen the highway, make changes to increase the flow at intersections and add touches such as sidewalks and bike paths in some areas.

Despite a construction date still seemingly far away, initial planning could begin soon.

The state has included $1 million toward engineering for the stretch from Charles Road to Route 14 in its 2014 budget. They budgeted an additional $1 million to start planning the stretch from Route 14 to Reed Road in Huntley.

But total engineering costs for those two projects will cost an estimated $17 million – money the state will have to commit simply to get the project ready for phase three.

Once it is, it will likely be another waiting game. But the sooner the project reaches that point the better, which is why Interim Public Works Director Jeff Van Landuyt is cautiously encouraged by the latest development.

“If it sits there ‘shovel ready,’ it’s one of those they can pick and choose based on the amount of money they have available,” he said.

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