CRYSTAL LAKE – In an effort to ease congestion to the city's main commercial area, Crystal Lake City Council members gave final approval Tuesday to a roughly $5.8 million road widening project to create a five-lane section from Rakow Road to Route 14.
The project will widen Main Street from the existing three-lane section to a five-lane section from Liberty Drive to Jennings Drive, creating a continuous four-lane roadway between Rakow Road and Crystal Lake Avenue. It will eliminate the traffic bottleneck that exists in the city's primary gateway to the Route 14 corridor.
While the project could cost $5.8 million, the city will be responsible for less than half the cost. The city received a $1.5 million federal Surface Transportation Program grant for the project and McHenry County will pick up $2.3 million of the costs, leaving the city with a $2 million price tag.
The funds will come out of the motor fuel tax fund in the 2015 budget.
McHenry County is responsible for the Pyott Road work that will take place from Jennings Road to the intersection of Virginia Road, which it is also responsible for. Pyott Road then turns into Main Street – the city's responsibility – north of Virginia Road.
Along with the widening and resurfacing of roads, upgraded sewer systems and traffic lights with illuminated street signs also will be installed as part of the project.
Construction will affect some businesses and City Council members already made a rare exception for one right along Main Street.
Mayfair Furniture & Carpet, located at 661 S. Main St., will be allowed to have electric signage in part because the construction work will force the displacement of its current sign. Electric signs have been nearly exclusive to locations on Route 14 and Route 31 in Crystal Lake.
"I'm just concerned about the precedent this could set," councilman Brett Hopkins said.
Hopkins was alone in his objection as the rest of the council approved the exception for when construction begins. The project is scheduled to go out for bids in September with work beginning in spring 2015.