Less road congestion, safer driving are goals for McHenry County’s 2050 transportation plan

Draft expected to be ready later this spring

The Randall Road improvement project, completed in August 2021, widened Randall Road between Lake in the Hills and Algonquin, improved flow at the intersection of Randall Road and Algonquin Road, added two new signaled intersections and added pedestrian and bicycle amenities.

McHenry County is working on a long-range transportation plan, and officials expect a draft will be ready next month. The plan touches on all facets of transportation including roads and public transportation.

County leaders discussed short-term and long-term transportation goals and projects in a county meeting Wednesday. Some of their goals include “Vision Zero,” a movement to get to zero traffic fatalities. McHenry County also had a goal of zero traffic fatalities in its 2040 transportation plan, which was approved in 2014.

Scott Hennings, assistant director of transportation, said the county is also working on a safety action plan that might be adopted next year. Many corridors in the county identified as safety concerns are located in the more rural areas, Hennings said. Some of the rural roads identified as safety concerns include Kishwaukee Valley Road west of Route 14 near Woodstock and Route 176 west of Route 47 south of Woodstock, according to county documents. Potential safety improvements to these roads include rumble strips, lighting and widening and paving shoulders.

The plan also looks longer term, and Hennings mentioned projects such as potential Fox River crossings near McHenry and Algonquin. He said if built, the bridges would likely have to be tolled. Longmeadow Parkway’s bridge in Algonquin is set to open later this year without a toll after McHenry County chipped in $1 million toward eliminating the toll in December.

Road extensions were other longer-term projects discussed Wednesday. Some of the projects officials mentioned include extending Ackman Road west from its current end at Haligus Road over to Route 47 near Huntley and extending Lakewood Road south from its current end at Algonquin Road to Huntley Road.

Public feedback has generally focused on cars, but people also have commented on public transit. County documents indicate that a lack of transit options was identified as a top transportation issue by the public. Hennings said public transportation is part of the plan, but it’s not entirely within county control.

“We know we can’t do it alone,” Hennings said.

Road congestion was another issue county leaders mentioned. Widening is a potential solution, but officials also said turn lanes and roundabouts, among other strategies, could alleviate congestion. In the shorter term in McHenry County, widening on Route 47 in Woodstock is scheduled to start later this year and widening on Randall Road between Ackman Road in Crystal Lake and Acorn Lane/Polaris Drive in Lake in the Hills is scheduled to begin this spring. The Randall Road project received a $20 million federal grant the day after the McHenry County Board voted on its budget.