Intersection improvements proposed north of Cary

CARY – In several years, a roundabout might be controlling the flow of traffic where Crystal Lake Road, Silver Lake Road and Silver Lake Trail meet.

According to a pamphlet provided by Algonquin Township, the intersection north of town is a “major source of delay for drivers” and the township is looking to make improvements.

Currently the intersection is a four-way stop.

A roundabout is one of the proposals because there would be fewer “conflict points” or places where cars can collide, which should result in fewer severe accidents.

Other options include keeping the current setup, or putting in traffic signals.

Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Robert Miller said a roundabout would be a greener option as it would increase traffic flow efficiency, which leads to fewer delays and less vehicle emissions from idling vehicles.

The design also would not require the installation of traffic signals, which means less electricity and maintenance requirements.

Other planned improvements at the intersection include new storm sewer, curb and gutter, and sidewalks and crosswalks at all four approaches to the intersection.

The township also plans to reconstruct or resurface 300 to 400 feet of road in all directions from the roundabout, according to project documents.

The preliminary estimated price tag for a roundabout project, including design and construction, is less than $2 million.

Installing traffic signals is estimated to cost more than $3 million, which includes design and construction.

Miller said there is a lot of traffic at the intersection, especially with schools and a fire station east of the intersection.

Miller said there would be minimal land acquisition needed for a roundabout.

“It keeps the footprint as small as possible,” Miller said.

Currently, the township is working on phase one engineering and hopes to obtain outside funding for the project, such as through the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning or the McHenry County Council of Mayors.

Pending funding for the project, the soonest construction would start would be 2017, said Baxter & Woodman project engineer Michael Plant, who is working on the design.

“It’s a very lengthy process,” Plant said.

Plant said a roundabout helps traffic flow through an intersection easier.

At a four-way stop, a driver would need to determine, all at once, if someone is in the crosswalk, if there are other vehicles coming from other directions who arrived at the intersection first, and whether he can turn, Plant said.

In a roundabout, those questions are broken down into individual increments. Also if another vehicle is in the roundabout, the person waiting at the intersection would have to yield. If there is no one there, the motorist may proceed through the roundabout and through the intersection.

“The operational characteristics of a roundabout, we feel, would increase the efficiency of the intersection,” Plant said.

Wait time at the intersection

As Algonquin Township and engineers consider improvements where Crystal Lake Road, Silver Lake Road and Silver Lake Trail meet, they have to consider both current and future traffic volume.

Delay at the intersection during peak-time driving

2014 four-way stop:

Morning: 33 seconds

Afternoon: 32 seconds

2040 four-way stop:

Morning: 99 seconds

Afternoon: 77 seconds

2014 with a roundabout

Morning: 11 seconds

Afternoon: 9 seconds

2040 with a roundabout

Morning: 29 seconds

Afternoon: 14 seconds

2014 traffic signal

Morning: 19 seconds

Afternoon: 15 seconds

2040 traffic signal

Morning: 27 seconds

Afternoon: 20 seconds

“We look ahead to the future. We’re looking at the current situation and looking at the future traffic demands,” said Baxter & Woodman Project Engineer Michael Plant, who is working on the project.

Project public hearing

In order for people to give input or to learn more about the project, the Algonquin Township Highway Department has scheduled a public hearing.

The open house-format public hearing is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Algonquin Township Office at 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

For information, call 847-639-2700, ext. 6.

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