McHenry County Board to vote on Randall Road widening in Algonquin, Lake in the Hills

WOODSTOCK – A vote by the McHenry County Board on whether to allocate an additional $10 million to buy right of way will determine whether the Randall Road widening project moves forward.

After a decade of planning, $9 million spent to date and the first phase of the project set to start next year, County Board members will, in essence, decide Tuesday morning whether Randall Road gets improved or whether it does not. A faction of County Board members have questioned either the scope of the project or the necessity at all for widening the busy corridor in Lake in the Hills and Algonquin and improving its intersection with Algonquin Road.

A split recommendation between two committees highlights the schism. The Transportation Committee recommended against allocating the money, while the Finance and Audit Committee supports it, both on 4-2 votes.

The $65.7 million first phase calls for widening Randall Road to six lanes from Harnish Drive in Algonquin north to Polaris Drive in Lake in the Hills, and improving its busy intersection with Algonquin Road by adding more turn lanes and eliminating some entry points. The plan would add a second left-turn lane on Randall Road and a third on Algonquin Road.

With $9 million already spent and $10.6 million pledged by the federal government, the remaining price tag for the first phase is closer to $46.1 million.

The second phase would widen the road to six lanes from Polaris Drive north to Ackman Road for a total project cost of $97 million.

Improving Randall Road has been on the County Board’s road project list since 2002, and feasibility studies began shortly thereafter. The opposition that now threatens the project has frustrated the leaders of Algonquin and Lake in the Hills, who long have pushed for a fix to ease congestion and preserve what they call an economic engine that provides jobs and pumps millions in property and sales taxes into local government coffers.

The debate, which resulted in the allocation being stuck in committee for two months, prompted County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, to convene a Committee of the Whole a month ago to bring board members, especially newer ones, up to speed on the project. About half of the County Board has been elected within the last four years.

The County Board in 2014 allocated $5 million toward acquiring the needed land.

If you go ...

The McHenry County Board meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.