ELGIN – Opponents of Longmeadow Parkway denounced the updated environmental assessment presented by Kane County Division of Transportation officials at a public hearing Tuesday.
The report reassessed the impact the four-lane, 5.6-mile highway would have on factors including wetlands, noise pollution and air quality, and said every action is being made to “avoid, minimize and mitigate or enhance resources,” in the area.
“We’re recreating more than we’re taking out,” said Carl Schoedel, KDOT director of transportation and county engineer.
Project plans show that while 5,765 trees will be removed, 11,530 new ones will be planted. While about 4 acres of wetlands will be affected, 17 acres will be created to mitigate the effect.
The project runs from Huntley Road east to Route 62 in Barrington Hills, and adds another Fox River bridge crossing that will require a toll to pass.
More than 300 people signed in at the public hearing, and nearly 40 people spoke in a packed room at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Elgin during a public forum, KDOT Chief of Design Michael Zakosek said.
Many opponents wore red stickers saying “Stop Longmeadow,” and received applause after making their comments.
“The facts have been blatantly disregarded,” Algonquin resident Laura Brehmer said, citing concerns including the effect on trees, neighborhoods being cut off from schools, noise levels and opposition from voters.
Algonquin resident Greg Ligman said he and his wife watch Longmeadow Parkway from their home, and traffic on it is “very small.”
“There is no reason to expand this parkway,” Ligman said. “It’s not going to benefit my community.
“It’s going to hurt my community, it’s going to pollute my community, it’s going to pollute my environment, and it is a symbol of the corruption of politics in Illinois.”
Huntley resident Kevin Sindelar was one of the few who supported the highway during the forum, and said crossing the river is always a “chokehold” during rush hour.
“We’re all building houses and moving out here,” Sindelar said. “And I think more transportation and easier east-west routes would be a boom to commerce and people coming back and forth to work.”
Schoedel said the Federal Highway Administration will review public comments and decide whether the project needs a supplemental environmental impact statement, or if there is a finding of no significant impact for the construction of the highway.
“We can’t move forward until we clear this environmental update,” Schoedel said.
Total construction costs are estimated at about $115 million, Schoedel said, with about $14 million from federal sources, about $39 million from the state of Illinois and about $61 million coming from Kane County.
Comments on the project received through Sept. 6 will become part of the public hearing record, and can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Kane County Division of Transportation, ATTN: Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor, 41W011 Burlington Road, St. Charles.
The full environmental assessment can be viewed at www.co.kane.il.us/dot.