ALGONQUIN – Construction can start again on Longmeadow Parkway in Algonquin after being delayed for nearly two weeks.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman refused to extend a temporary restraining order that stopped work on the project, and said opponents of the project failed to show that the construction is a significant threat to the rusty patched bumblebee’s habitat, the Daily Herald reports.
The Stop Longmeadow group’s bee expert, entomologist Sydney Cameron, did not show up in court Friday to testify, the Daily Herald reported.
Work on the parkway started April 17 near Randall Road in Algonquin, but it ended several hours later after Coleman granted an emergency stop requested by opponents who said the planned route includes a habitat of the endangered rusty patched bumblebee.
The rusty patched bumblebee was placed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered species list March 21. Since the late 1990s, the bee species’ numbers have declined by nearly 90 percent, according to a motion filed by Stop Longmeadow, and the bee is only found in a handful of locations in the country, including Kane County.
Plans for the controversial project call for a four-lane, 5.6-mile east-west corridor connecting Randall Road with Route 62, although it starts west of Randall Road at the intersection of Huntley and Boyer roads. The $115 million project, complete with a toll bridge over the Fox River, will go through Algonquin, Carpentersville and Barrington Hills, as well as unincorporated areas of Kane County.
After the restraining order was first issued, Algonquin Village President John Schmitt, a longtime proponent of the project, posted a photo of himself on Facebook where his head was attached to the body of a bumblebee.
The photo has since been taken down, and what Schmitt called a “self-deprecating” joke led to residents asking him to resign at Tuesday Committee of the Whole meeting. Schmitt said he would not resign.
Representatives from the Kane County Division of Transportation and the Stop Longmeadow group could not immediately be reached for comment.