After more than a decade of discussion, construction on the Route 47 widening project in Woodstock could begin sooner than expected, the mayor said.
The Woodstock City Council met Tuesday to discuss a cost-sharing agreement to fund its share of a portion of the project, about $3.8 million. The widening project along the often-congested road now is included in the state’s capital bill, according to city documents.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office and the Illinois Department of Transportation agreed to allocate $57 million to the plan, according to city documents.
Mayor Brian Sager called the development “incredibly significant” for the city.
“We have lobbied, worked hard and hit the key points legislators were looking for,” Sager said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Those were safety issues, access issues and economic growth and development. This is important for Woodstock, McHenry County and the region.”
IDOT plans to widen Route 47 from Route 14 to Route 120 to allow for two lanes of traffic in each direction separated by a raised curb median. There also are plans for sidewalk and bicycle path improvements to make the road more pedestrian-friendly.
The Federal Highway Administration, IDOT and the city of Woodstock will share costs on some aspects of the project.
The original proposal called for widening from Route 14 to Charles Road, which would have cost $78 million dollars.
“Even though we didn’t get all the way to Charles Road, this is still a significant opportunity,” Sager said.
In the “best case” scenario, construction could begin within three years, Sager said.
“Now the real work begins because we have to work to educate the business community and community at large about access and the construction period,” Sager said.
The second phase of the proposal, which includes contract plan preparation, is included in IDOT’s proposed 2019 to ’24 highway improvement program. Land acquisition, construction engineering and construction are not, according to city documents.
“However, this project will be included in our priorities for future funding consideration,” IDOT officials wrote in a note to the city.