State seeks comments on highway plans : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|State seeks comments on highway plans|
|Widening Rt. 47 between Yorkville, Sugar Grove 'years away,' official says|
|by Matt Schury|
If there is a state highway you drive on and you want the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to improve or fix it, let them know.
That was the message at IDOT's public information meeting last week at Morris City Hall.
IDOT had exhibits on display about the current Multi-Year Program for fiscal year 2014 to 2019. Engineers from IDOT say they will take the feedback and comments under consideration in making the next long range plan that covers 2015 through 2020. That plan is expected to be completed next spring.
IDOT's District Three contains nine northern Illinois counties including: Kendall, DeKalb, LaSalle, Grundy, Livingston, Bureau, Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford.
The department's Multi-Modal program and the Illinois Bike Transportation Plan were also on display. The plans can be found at dot.il.gov/opp/publications.html.
IDOT is accepting comments through Nov. 1.
Written comments can be provided to the Illinois Department of Transportation, District Three, 700 East Norris Drive, Ottawa, Ill., 61350. Comments and questions can be made online at dot.il.gov/opp/publications.html.
The current Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program covers fiscal years 2014-19 and includes what is budgeted for state road and bridge systems as well as maintenance and improvements. The plan also takes into account any interconnected modal systems such as transit, rail, or bike facilities.
The program funds for state and local highways in District Three for 2014-19 total about $553 million, according to figures from IDOT.
The funding, IDOT says, is based on current estimates of local, federal and state funding, including funding from Gov. Pat Quinn's capital program, enacted in 2009.
Tom Magolan, an engineer with IDOT, said the public outreach meeting is meant to collect comments so engineers know which projects the public is most interested, in even beyond highways.
"It's always a situation of available funding," he said. "We're trying to give people the bigger picture of transportation-trains, planes and automobiles."
Dan Mestelle, program development engineer with IDOT, adds that now is the time to let IDOT know where they should be working.
"What we have been telling people is if you have concerns write down the concerns," Mestelle said.
He added that even if IDOT suddenly was able to fund all their projects they would still logistically have to pace themselves.
"We have so much work in this area and there is only so much work you can do and still move traffic."
Expansion and improvement of Route 47 through Kendall County is in the plan and IDOT engineers explained why a project to widen the road south of Caton Farm Road to Grundy County is moving forward before a more heavily traveled leg of the road from Kennedy to Sugar Grove is expanded.
The City of Yorkville recently sent a resolution to IDOT supporting funding expansion of the portion of the road from Kennedy Road to the Kane County border. The Kendall County Board has indicated they will do something similar.
IDOT is currently moving forward with plans to widen Route 47 south of Yorkville from Caton Farm Road to the City of Morris in Grundy County.
Dave Broviak, an engineer with IDOT, said widening the southern leg of Route 47 was studied first because it was anticipated to have an interchange to the Prairie Parkway near Caton Farm road. However, federal funding for beginning the Prairie Parkway was re-distributed after the decision of record for the expressway was rescinded.
Broviak said IDOT worked to get the funding to the portion of Route 47 they could begin the fastest and that ended up being the portion south of Caton Farm.
"When they did the alignment study, this section of (Route) 47 was selected as a good companion improvement to the actual construction of the Prairie Parkway," he said.
Broviak added that the project to widen Route 47 from the Kendall County line to I-80 in Grundy County is expected to go to a bid letting in November.
"Now that you don't have Prairie Parkway down there at I-80 you still need some kind of north-south movement in Kendall County and Grundy and if you look at the map-yes you have a lot of traffic flow up here but this is our only state route north-south smack in the middle of Kendall and Grundy County," Broviak said.
He explained that IDOT is years away from completing the section of Route 47 north of Yorkville to Sugar Grove.
"We are currently doing our phase one study, we anticipate that completion sometime in the middle of next year," he said.
Route 47 through downtown Yorkville is currently under construction. That project is being funded by money from Quinn's capital improvement program.
In Oswego, the plan shows that work is expected to begin next year on Route 71 from Orchard Road/Minkler Road to Route 34.
"That is under contract right now. They haven't started but they are doing all the utility work," Broviak.
In addition to highway projects, citizens also have a chance to influence which projects are funded under a proposed Illinois Bike Transportation Plan that IDOT is still developing.
"It's a suggested map," Chris Schmidt, an engineer with IDOT, said. "A lot of the people who are really hard bike advocates and ride 10, 15, 20 miles a week, they're looking for us to be paving everything with a bike lane," he said. "With the (state's) financial situation we don't have the finances to do that."
Schmidt said IDOT wants to start by doing regional connectives linking current paths and trails together. Input from the public will tell them which paths are more popular.