Algonquin Takes Small Steps Forward on Western Bypass
The Algonquin Village Board on Tuesday gave the OK on a jurisdictional transfer of Route 31 from the Illinois Department of Transportation to the village.
The village of Algonquin and county transportation officials took steps forward this week to prepare for the long-awaited Western Bypass.
The Algonquin Village Board on Tuesday approved a jurisdictional transfer, which would transfer the responsibility for Route 31 — which includes Main Street through downtown Algonquin — from the Illinois Department of Transportation to the village.
This transfer would give the village more power to make changes to its downtown area.
Also this week, the McHenry County Division of Transportation started work on Route 31 at Klasen Road/Virginia Road. The project will widen Route 31 to two through lanes in each direction from just south of Linden Avenue in Algonquin to just north of Trinity Drive in Lake in the Hills, said Mark Dammyer, construction manager for the McHenry Division of Transportation.
The Western Bypass has been in the works for more than 15 years. The Daily Herald reported in recent weeks that construction on the bypass could start as early as September.
The Daily Herald reported that if "all land acquisition, permits and agreements are finalized," IDOT would start seeking bids for the main construction contract in June.
The $70 million project would re-route traffic away from the downtown Algonquin area — and in particular, away from the intersection of Route 62 and Route 31 — in an effort to reduce congestion.
The bypass would run west along Route 31 from Rakow Road, through Towne Park and back onto Route 31 at Huntington Drive.
Jurisdictional Transfer of 31: What it Means for Algonquin
The jurisdictional transfer approved Tuesday by the Village Board will give Algonquin the ability to make changes to its downtown area, said Village Manager William Ganek.
Once the Western Bypass is in place the village hopes to make the downtown more pedestrian-friendly.
Village officials are seeking public feedback on what changes would appeal to residents, such as what types of businesses should be downtown and how the village should design Main Street.
"From a planning perspective, we are hoping to get people downtown," said Michael Kumbera, assistant to the village manager.
The state will provide $1.7 million to the village to take over Route 31. The hope for that money is to put it back into the downtown, Ganek said, by using it, for example, as seed money for redevelopment grants.
Downtown Planning Study
A $90,000 grant is paying for a consultant to conduct the Downtown Algonquin Planning Study.
Residents can sound off on their downtown Algonquin wishes in a community survey on the interactive Downtown Algonquin Planning Study website.
There is also an interactive community map where site visitors can post icons in locations where they would like to see changes, and detail what they would like those changes to be.
Some of the suggestions so far include one contributor to the site who would like to see restaurant-type businesses with rooftop access along the Fox River on North Harrison Street. Another suggested painting and reconditioning buildings along Main Street between Route 62 and Washington Street.