Longmeadow Parkway fate may go to voters


GENEVA – If Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen gets his way, Kane County residents may be asked whether the county should proceed with long-planned improvement of transportation on the county’s north end.

Lauzen told County Board members Wednesday he would be reluctant to support further work on the proposed Longmeadow Parkway project without a demonstration of public support for the large, regional road project. Lauzen spoke at a meeting of the Kane County Board’s Transportation Committee, .

“We have people who come out of office, and come into office but the constituents are always there,” Lauzen said. “My support for this project is contingent on a referendum.”

The project to build about five miles of new road in the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills-Carpentersville area from Route 62 to Huntley Road, focused on a toll bridge over the Fox River, has been in the works for about two decades.

Previously, the project was designated as one of Kane County’s top transportation priorities.

But Lauzen said he needs more “proof” that the project is desired by the whole county. He said the project deserves to be on the county’s transportation “wish list,” but said the matter should go to referendum in 2014.

A fact sheet distributed by the Kane County Division of Transportation indicated the road is needed to alleviate “severe congestion and delay” traffic issues on existing bridges in Algonquin, West Dundee and East Dundee.

KDOT estimated that more than 200,000 vehicles a day cross bridges over the Fox River from Elgin to Algonquin.

The project is estimated to cost about $117 million. But KDOT officials have said they expect the project would be heavily financed by federal and state transportation funds and would be supported by tolls charged to motorists using the bridge.

KDOT Deputy Director Tom Rickert said the tolls would be needed to make sure residents of southern McHenry County pay for the bridge. KDOT’s information sheet notes that the county has received $9 million in federal funds to buy land, and the county has acquired about 60 percent of the land needed for the road.

KDOT also noted that the village boards of 10 area municipalities, including Algonquin, Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee, Huntley, Hampshire, Lake in the Hills and Gilberts, have adopted resolutions supporting the bridge project.