LITH reviewing CFI plans

LAKE IN THE HILLS – Village officials now are reviewing plans for the county’s proposed Randall Road improvements, which include a continuous flow intersection at Algonquin Road.

McHenry County recently fulfilled a Freedom of Information Act request from the village after the phase one engineering plans were approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation, which was needed because the county hopes to use federal money for the project.

Early estimates for the Randall Road improvements from Ackman Road to County Line Road put the price tag at $80 million.

The plans include a continuous flow intersection at Randall and Algonquin roads as the preferred alternative at the intersection.

Village President Paul Mulcahy said the response from the county was “voluminous.”

“We’ve had questions from the very beginning of this process six or seven years ago,” Mulcahy said. The village wants to review “the sort of data used on projections on the amount of traffic on Randall Road, why they feel this sort of change, ... the scope of it, [and] why they feel we need to do something as dramatic as a CFI, and see if we indeed agree on the basis of their decisions.”

Public Works Director Fred Mullard said the village received 2,000 to 3,000 pages of documents.
“Our big focus is the basis of why it needs to be a CFI as opposed to a conventional intersection, which is much better for our community,” Mullard said.

Mullard said there is no specific timetable for the village’s review.

The village may even take the information to an outside consultants to see if they agree with county assessments, Mulcahy said.

Mulcahy acknowledged there is snarled traffic during peak times in the morning and evening and  Saturday afternoons.

He said a lot has to do with single-turn lanes from Randall onto Algonquin Road.

Lake in the Hills officials have adamantly been against the proposed CFI because it would block off access to businesses along Randall Road.

Mulcahy suggested all that might be needed are additional left-turn lanes that are longer so traffic turning left doesn’t block thru lanes. That solution would be much cheaper and would have less impact on businesses, Mulcahy added.

Mulcahy said the western bypass is going in, and that Route 47 in Huntley has been expanded along with a full interchange at Interstate-90.

Those improvements will change driving habits, Mulcahy said.

“I don’t see where growth is going to come that will affect Randall Road,” Mulcahy said. “If there is growth, it is to the west or infill in Crystal Lake.”

County officials now plan to move forward with phase two engineering, which includes the drawing of blueprints for the project. The County Board’s Transportation Committee on Wednesday plans to review a $9.1 million contract with Transystems and Bollinger Lach and Associates to conduct the phase two engineering. The contract is expected to be voted on by the full County Board in February.

“We’ll see what kind of different examination of problems and options are brought to bear by Transystems and Bollinger,” County Administrator Peter Austin said.

The engineering firms were brought on because they have an understanding of the issues on Randall Road of moving people through the north-south corridor and facilitating commerce, Austin said.
“We want to look at how best to do that,” Austin said.

Ultimately it’s up to the County Board to determine what sort of improvement is done at the intersection, Austin added.

So far the county has secured $10.6 million of federal money through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning for the estimated $80 million project.

“Beyond that, we don’t have financing lined up,” Austin said.

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