ALGONQUIN – With a recent finding by the Federal Highway Administration that said Longmeadow Parkway will have no new significant effects on the environment, the project can move to the next step of development.
Although the project has received criticism from some residents and local officials who contest that it will not affect the environment, Steve Coffinbargar, assistant director of transportation for the Kane County Division of Transportation, said, “We’ve met our obligation to the environmental aspects associated with the project.”
Throughout the corridor, which runs from Huntley Road east to Route 62 in Barrington Hills, there will be a median between the road and a bike path, Coffinbargar said. The project also adds another Fox River bridge crossing that will require a toll to pass.
The road will include features that blend in with the natural environment, Coffinbargar said.
“Native plants, grasses and trees and bushes will be planted along the roadside, and with the median, and they’re used to accentuate the existing landscape features that are already present within the corridor,” Coffinbargar said.
Project directors have worked with municipalities to gather feedback in regard to landscaping on both sides of the river, he said.
Total construction costs are estimated at about $115 million, according to KDOT, with about $14 million from federal sources, about $39 million from the state of Illinois and about $61 million coming from Kane County.
Coffinbargar said construction on the section running through Algonquin from Randall Road to White Chapel Lane could start as early as this spring and be completed by the end of the year.
Having less traffic on roads and easier access to Algonquin’s corporate campus are two reasons Algonquin Village President John Schmitt said he has supported the project.
“We’re really, really looking forward to seeing this completed,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt said having fewer idle cars will be a benefit to the environment, and the project has been designed to give ample space between homes and the road.
For Algonquin resident Roz Strapko, whose property backs up to the tollway, the negative effects of the project will be huge.
“There’s a lot of children in this neighborhood,” Strapko said. “The noise alone with all the traffic – it’s not good. This is not the kind of roadway you put though a small residential area.”
The Stop Longmeadow Tollbridge Facebook group has more than 600 followers, and in the summer it raised about $10,000 to pursue a lawsuit to stop the highway construction, which Strapko said is ongoing.
Information on the project can be found on KDOT’s website.