Detour: Faster on Rakow Road, slower on Route 173

We start this week’s column with a change that, for once, means getting somewhere faster.

• FLOOR IT: The new posted speed limit on Rakow Road is 50 mph, after the McHenry County Board voted to increase it from 45 mph.

Now back to all of the summer driving inconveniences:

• ROUTE 173: Route 173 between Greenwood and Keystone roads west of Richmond will be closed this week to replace the railroad crossing.

Work will begin at 9 a.m. Monday and is expected to be finished at noon Saturday.

A posted detour will divert drivers to Tryon Grove Road. Local traffic will have access from both Greenwood and Keystone roads up to the closure.

• ROUTE 14 IN CARY: Watch for possible delays as work begins on a $1.5 million project to improve Jandus Cutoff from Route 14 to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The project is expected to be finished by September.

Mrs. Detour got stuck in one of those delays Thursday evening, which had westbound Route 14 backed up past the Fox River bridge. You’ve been warned.

• ROUTES 31 AND 120: Work has started on a $7.2 million project to widen and resurface Route 120 from Front Street to Green Street and Route 31 from Route 120 north to McCullom Lake Road. It includes improvement of the intersection and replacement of the bridge over the creek that feeds into the Fox River. The new lane configuration remains in effect this weekend, as do the lane closures on Route 120.

The project is expected to be finished by November.

• JOHNSBURG ROUNDABOUT: Work is beginning on a roundabout intersection at Johnsburg and Chapel Hill roads. The $2.7 million project scheduled to be finished in September includes decorative lighting, landscaping and brick-paved crosswalks.

Eastbound Johnsburg Road is closed between Spring Grove Road and Fairview Avenue, and westbound Johnsburg Road will be closed from Fairview Avenue to Chapel Hill Road. The road will be open to local traffic to maintain access to local businesses.

A lengthy posted detour will take drivers around via Routes 31 and 120 and Chapel Hill Road. And, yes, that detour takes you through the aforementioned mess at Routes 31 and 120 in McHenry.

The work is the second phase of a project to improve Johnsburg Road. The first phase, which improved Johnsburg Road from Route 31 east to the roundabout, was finished earlier this year.

• ROUTES 31 AND 176: Work is ongoing on a $10.2 million project to improve the intersection of both routes in Crystal Lake. It is down to one lane in all directions.

The state has said the project will wrap up by the end of spring, but we’re not too sure that deadline will be met. We’ll let you know about that.

• ROUTE 31: Work is set to start to widen Route 31 to four lanes from Rakow Road in Crystal Lake south to Trinity Drive in Lake in the Hills. The project is one of the latest in the ongoing $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! capital program.

The $5.2 million project is expected to be finished by next spring.

• ALGONQUIN WESTERN BYPASS: Budget more time if your travels take you through downtown Algonquin on either Route 31 or Algonquin Road/Route 62.

Watch for workers and expect some delays at the bypass’s intersections with Route 31 north and south of downtown, and on Algonquin Road west of downtown as workers build the overpass and its diamond interchange.

Key components of the long-desired $33.3 million project are the building of a 2.1-mile, four-lane highway around downtown to eliminate the infamous rush-hour bottleneck at the intersection of Routes 31 and 62. This is the second year of the two-year project, and work is expected to be finished this fall.

• MARENGO: Prospect Street will be down to one lane through fall as part of a $2.9 million project to widen the road and to add sidewalks and a traffic light at Route 20.

The street is open only to northbound traffic, and southbound traffic is being detoured.

• INTERSTATE 90: Budget extra time if your commute involves I-90, regardless of which direction you’re traveling.

Work continues this year to improve a 37-mile segment of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway between Elgin and Interstate 39 in Rockford. Eastbound lanes were improved last year, so traffic is being shifted to them so workers can improve the westbound lanes. That work should be finished by the end of the year.

But work also has started this year to improve a 25-mile segment of I-90 from Elgin east to the Tri-State Tollway. That work is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.

The total cost of the project, meant to widen and improve I-90 between Rockford and O’Hare International Airport, is $2.5 billion.

• ROUTE 176: Work is starting on an upgrade to the intersection of Route 176 and Smith Road in unincorporated Nunda Township. The $1.5 million project is expected to be finished by November.

Sources: Illinois Department of Transportation, McHenry County Division of Transportation

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