CRYSTAL LAKE – After years of back and forth offers, McHenry County College and the Illinois Department of Transportation have reached an agreement to allow the road-widening the state has pursued and the new entrances the college requested.
The state will pay the college $89,900 for nearly two acres of land, securing the final right-of-way easements needed to begin the Route 14 road-widening project.
Of that compensation, $33,000 will go toward reimbursing the college for light poles, signs and landscaping that will be torn down as part of the expansion.
In return, the college will receive the improved entrances it wanted to accommodate future growth.
Entrance 1, the southern-most entrance on Route 14 and the only lighted entry, will become a secondary access point with no light.
It will be limited to right turns exiting the college but will include a left-hand turn lane after college officials successfully negotiated it into the plan.
Entrance 3 will become the primary access point and feature a light at the intersection of Lucas Road and Route 14.
It will have an elongated left-hand turn lane into the college and two exit lanes out the college – one for right-hand turns and traffic going straight and another for left-hand turns. Entrance 2 will be eliminated.
College president Vicky Smith said the deal is a proud accomplishment for the college as it was able to secure safe and expanded entrance designs that will be able to handle the growth of the college for at least the next 20 years.
“IDOT made this offer way back in late 2011 ... but if we were to have signed it then we would have had no leverage to get IDOT to design [the entrances] the way they needed to be designed to handle the needs of the college now and into the future,” Smith said. “The negotiator from IDOT is going to be one happy camper.”
Construction on the Route 14 road widening project could begin in the early spring of 2014.