WOODSTOCK – The City Council on Tuesday agreed to Woodstock's small – by comparison – portion of a $27.5 million project to widen Route 14.
But, with the project's original letting date now two years in the rearview mirror, officials were hesitant to start the hypothetical construction clock on the project, which officials estimate will take about 18 months.
Staff did, however, express greater optimism that the renewed and just-passed Aug. 1 letting date would stick this time, and that the state would start on the project this month.
"As I understand it, they are going out for bid in August. That was the last I heard," Woodstock City Engineer Alan Wilson said. "My guess is it's on track."
The delayed Illinois Department of Transportation project will widen and reconstruct Route 14 from Crystal Lake to Woodstock. The portion included in Woodstock's agreement runs from West Lake Shore Drive to Lucas Road, near McHenry County College. A second part of the project stretches it from Lucas Road to Crystal Lake Avenue in Crystal Lake.
The highway will be five lanes wide when completed, including two lanes each way and a median that will open to a turn lane when needed.
Under its agreement with IDOT, Woodstock will pay about $295,000 – roughly two-thirds of which will go toward relocating city utilities.
"You physically have to move the utilities so that they aren't under the road," City Manager Roscoe Stelford said. "So if there's a problem, they can get to them."
The city's portion also goes to upgrade two traffic signals along the route and to add a traffic signal at Route 14 and Lake Shore Drive.
Officials from both involved municipalities have expressed optimism in the past that the widened road would be an economic boon.
"We sincerely hope that this moves forward, because there would be a huge benefit for our community as well as for Crystal Lake," Stelford said.