CRYSTAL LAKE – The Crystal Lake City Council agreed Tuesday to dedicate $1.08 million to a long-planned road improvement project on Route 14, which could start within the year.
The city's financial support was the last agreement needed to trigger a joint project between Crystal Lake, the Illinois Department of Transportation and McHenry County College that will widen and resurface the road between Route 176 and Crystal Lake Avenue.
The project also includes reconstruction to provide two through lanes with a raised landscape median from Lucas Road to Route 176. McHenry County College will receive a main entrance that will be accessible off a new lighted intersection at Lucas Road and Route 14.
Under the project agreement, the city will be responsible for traffic signal modernization at the intersections of Route 14 and Woodstock Street and Route 14 and Crystal Lake Avenue; installation of illuminated street name signs at the same intersections and Route 14 and 176; installation of emergency vehicle pre-emption systems; and relocation of underground utilities.
Funding for the utility relocation projects will come from the public works budget while motor fuel tax dollars will pay for the rest of the improvements. Payments would not start until 2015.
Mayor Aaron Shepley said he hopes to see the project sooner rather than later as the state still needs to get some right-of-way secured.
"It's kind of crazy how long this has been on the books," he said.
While the roads will receive improvements in the future, Shepley and council members praised city workers for maintaining existing streets as best they can during the stretch of extreme winter weather.
"You can see where the city limits start and end by the conditions of the road," Shepley said. "I think that's pretty cool."
Councilman Jeff Thorsen echoed the mayor's sentiments and said he believed Crystal Lake had the best roads in the region throughout the snow and cold.
"I drove around a lot of northern Illinois," he said. "It's nice to drive in Crystal Lake."