Randall Road widening factors big in new five-year projects list

The upcoming Randall Road widening project dominates the new five-year list of McHenry County road projects.

The project, which includes a six-lane widening and a controversial continuous-flow intersection, accounts for $44.1 million of the $224.2 million in road spending proposed in the Division of Transportation's five-year Highway Improvement Plan.

The plan, updated annually, is a planning tool mandated by state law. The County Board on Tuesday accepted this year's version, which highlights potential road spending through 2017.

Plans call for improving 3.5 miles from Ackman Road south to County Line Road and the entrance to Algonquin Commons, and building a continuous-flow intersection at Randall and Algonquin roads, on the boundary between Algonquin and Lake in the Hills.

In such intersections, those turning left move into left-turn lanes earlier than in traditional intersections, heading into separate lanes that allow them to go left at the same time as other vehicles are proceeding straight through.

The Lake in the Hills Village Board vehemently opposes the intersection idea. Algonquin trustees have not taken an official position, but many have reservations.

The five-year plan puts the start of construction in 2016, although that is not finalized. Second-phase design work is expected to start this fall.

The county last year spent almost $21.3 million and encumbered another $30.5 million on projects such as the completion of the Rakow Road widening, starting work on the Charles Miller Road Bridge in McHenry and the Algonquin Western Bypass, replacing three bridges and repairing about 55 miles of road.

Work is ongoing to add another two-lane bridge to Miller Road, and to widen the road to four lanes between Route 31 and River Road. The plan also includes $2 million, starting in 2015, for engineering to begin on widening River and Chapel Hill roads from Miller Road north to Route 120.

The Western Bypass, a $33.3 million project to build a 2.1-mile, four-lane highway west of downtown Algonquin, is expected to be finished by August 2014.

Another $2.92 million is allocated to meet McHenry County's obligations for the ongoing work to build a full interchange at I-90 and Route 47 in Kane County. The completion date is now tentatively set for November.

The five-year plan also includes $24.1 million to replace 10 aging rural bridges and to rehabilitate two more.

Just under $31 million is set aside under the five-year plan to finish paying off the $50 million in bonds the county borrowed in 2007 to jump-start improvements such as Rakow and Miller roads. The bonds are being paid back through the county's motor-fuel tax.

Like last year's five-year plan, this one puts forth the option of borrowing another $50 million to help cover the Randall Road project.

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