While the Illinois Department of Transportation is working to finish acquiring the right of way for the land needed to build the Western Bypass, Algonquin is finalizing design plans for the $70 million project.
Bob Mitchard, public works director, said that last week he met with IDOT officials and presented 185 comments on three volumes of pre-final design plans for the bypass.
“We’re trying to make the bypass fit into the town as well as we can,” Mitchard said.
On Algonquin’s list of enhancements includes adding a parking lot to Towne Park, moving between 500 and 800 feet of the creek in the park and installing a bridge so that pedestrians walking on Jefferson Street can cross Crystal Creek into Towne Park.*
Algonquin has a lot of input as to how the final thoroughfare is going to look, Mitchard said.
The one thing not yet decided upon is whether the village is going to stick with the standard silver poles that IDOT installs along roadways, or if the village is going to go with black lighting structures that are more aesthetically appealing—but more pricey.
It would cost $2,000 per light pole, multiplied by 150 light poles, if the village were to opt for the black ones. Being as cash-strapped as the village is, Mitchard is not sure if that will happen.
In addition to making sure the new roadway looks like it fits in with the area, Algonquin is getting $1.6 million from the state to improve the existing Route 31/Main Street.
The current four-lane roadway is going to be turned into what is known as a “complete street”—something that can be shared by motorists, pedestrians and bikers. Mitchard said they will bring the curbs in, which will help create an atmosphere that is more welcoming for walkers and bikers.
As far as when people can expect this work to take place is anyone’s guess, Mitchard said. It all depends on when IDOT can acquire the last bit of land it needs to start the mass-grading.
He said that as of now, there will not be any complete road closures, although people should anticipate significant inconveniences. The McHenry County Prairie Path bike route will likely remain open, although in either 2012 or 2013, Towne Park will be unusable for Founders’ Days, Mitchard said.
*Editor's note: Patch originally stated there would be a pedestrian bridge over the bypass. That was incorrect and the article has been changed to reflect the correct positioning of the bridge.