IDOT, business owners discuss proposed Route 47 project in Woodstock

WOODSTOCK – The Illinois Department of Transportation held a meeting Friday at the Woodstock Public Library to go over a proposed project for Route 47 between Charles Road and Route 14.

“There are a number of safety concerns along this corridor in Woodstock that IDOT is trying to address with this project,” IDOT project manager Steve Schilke said. “With this meeting, we’re talking with and getting feedback from business owners to minimize impact and improve traffic through the critical areas.”

Still in the early stages, IDOT is proposing to create two lanes in each direction separated by a raised median. Schilke said the median would potentially reduce the area’s crash rates by 20 to 40 percent and create safer access for businesses.

IDOT also is proposing adding a sidewalk, bike path and five roundabouts along Route 47, including at the intersections of Lake Avenue and McConnell Road.

“Roundabouts have a lot of safety and operational benefits,” Schilke said.

However, several business owners on Route 47, such as Dr. Robert Haraden of the Family Dentistry of Woodstock and John Stassen of Stassen Insurance Agency, attended Friday’s meeting to express their concerns.

“If you want to see traffic improve at Route 47, they should put a roundabout at Charles Road and Route 47,” Haraden said. “To alleviate traffic, start in the country, not by these businesses.”

Stassen said his main concern is that the medians will hinder access into the businesses.

“This proposal is going to decrease the number of people we see,” Stassen said. “But they seem like they are set on adding these medians.”

Stassen said the city is going to lose sales tax revenue and it’s going to have a negative effect on property values.

“Along with all that, I believe they are reporting certain things in their report that are not necessarily true, and I don’t understand where they are getting their citations from,” Stassen said.

Woodstock council member RB Thompson said he’s in support of the proposal and that it won’t have a negative effect on the businesses.

“I think it solves a lot of our problems as this will improve traffic flow and create less backups,” Thompson said. “So ultimately, I think it will bring more people to the businesses because we’ll see twice as many cars coming through.”

The project study is funded through state and federal transportation planning funds.

A public hearing on the project is expected to take place in early 2017.

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