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Villages, IDOT debate whether section of Algonquin Road needs widening

Villages, IDOT work to solve capacity problem on 2-lane section

Vehicles travel along East Algonquin Road near the intersection with Autumn Trail on July 24 in Barrington Hills. Officials are discussing widening the section of Algonquin Road between Routes 25 and 68.
Vehicles travel along East Algonquin Road near the intersection with Autumn Trail on July 24 in Barrington Hills. Officials are discussing widening the section of Algonquin Road between Routes 25 and 68.

The village of Barrington Hills is making plans to improve the 5-mile stretch of Algonquin Road between Routes 25 and 68. 

Algonquin Road, also known as Route 62, is being studied to determine whether it should be widened.

The project is in Phase 1, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Phase 1 should cost about $3.5 million, said Guy Tridgell, director of communications for the Illinois Department of Transportation.  

The improvements are in response to the construction of the Longmeadow Parkway Tollway Bridge, village of Barrington Hills President Martin McLaughlin said. The bridge will span the Fox River and connect Randall Road in the west to Algonquin Road in the east, increasing traffic by about 8,000 cars on Algonquin Road.

The Longmeadow Parkway project is expected to be completed in January 2022, said Steve Coffinbargar, assistant director of project implementation for the Kane County Division of Transportation. There will be through lanes added in both directions on Algonquin Road. 

With no funding for Phase 2 or 3 at this time for Algonquin Road, the project end date is unknown.

This is one of the last sections of Algonquin Road without two lanes in each direction, Tridgell said. 

McLaughlin is against creating a four-lane highway through Barrington Hills; however, it is being done for the safety of residents, he said. 

Village of Algonquin President John Schmitt is all for the road being improved. There is no question it needs to be done, he said. Hundreds of thousands of vehicles can’t be moved on a two-lane country road, Schmitt said.

As recently as 1996, Algonquin Road saw about 14,500 vehicles a day, according to a February 2018 public newsletter from IDOT. Two-lane roads are considered for capacity improvements when they reach between 12,000 to 14,000 vehicles a day. Traffic is projected to increase by 8% by 2040, according to IDOT.

According to a brochure from a June 25 public meeting on the matter, there are three improvement ideas up for consideration: a four-lane rural section with a paved median and curb, providing inside and outside shoulders; a four-lane suburban section with a curb, creating two lanes in each direction separated by a grass median with a curb; or a no-build option providing routine maintenance. Both build options would have a shared-use path.

Forty-two members of the public submitted comments, some submitting more than one, resulting in a total of 120 comments, according to the newsletter. Of the respondents, 57% expressed support of improving Algonquin Road.

A Freedom of Information Act request was sent to IDOT for the comments made by residents since the June 25 public meeting. The names of the residents who shared a comment were redacted from the response. A request for review has been sent to the Illinois Attorney General's office to appeal the denial of that information.

For information on the project or to submit a comment, go to il62study.com.

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