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Wolf's Crossing Rd. summit a good start : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Wolf's Crossing Rd. summit a good start

Kendall County Board members Scott Gryder and Lynn Cullick, both of Oswego, are to be commended for convening a large meeting of area governmental leaders this past week at Plank Junior High School in Oswego to discuss how Wolf's Crossing Road between U.S. Route 34 and U.S. Route 30 in Oswego can be improved.

In addition to county, village and township officials, also in attendance were several state lawmakers, City of Aurora staffers and Oswego School Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt.

Village officials have long acknowledged the need to rebuild and widen Wolf's Crossing Road into a five-lane roadway. Almost a decade ago, the village board had its engineering consultant complete a preliminary study for the project. That study estimated the cost at $32 million. That steep price tag pretty much served to end any further serious discussions concerning the project. Unfortunately, however, the need for more lanes on Wolf's Crossing Road hasn't gone away. In fact, traffic on the road continues to climb. According to Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) traffic counts, the number of vehicles using the road between the two Douglas Road intersections each day nearly doubled between 2002 and 2010. Back in 2002 IDOT counted 7,700 vehicles on the road. Just eight year's later traffic volume had jumped to 12,200. We're certain the current number of motorists now using the road is even higher than it was four years ago and it will continue to climb.

But how and who will pay to improve the road? Oswego Village Administrator Steve Jones said the estimated cost for the project is now nearly $37.8 million.

Now, at least, Gryder and Cullick managed to get all the "players" in one room at the same time to restart the discussions.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, offered to talk to IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider about the need to widen the road and offered to push for state funding for the project even if state lawmakers don't pass a multi-year capital bill. That's a positive step. Holmes should seek the support of the other state lawmakers serving the Oswego area in her lobbying efforts.

Over the past two decades, successful lobbying by state lawmakers in Springfield-primarily State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego-helped secure millions of dollars for the widening of Route 34 in Oswego and, more recently, Routes 30 and 71. In addition, in 2011 Cross obtained a $1 million state grant for the village which paid for a badly needed resurfacing of Wolf's Crossing Road.

Cross, who will depart the General Assembly when his current term ends next January, did his part to secure state and federal funds to improve the highways in our area. Now it's time for the new generation of state lawmakers to step up to the plate and see what they can do. But they don't have to go it alone. County, township, village and school district boards can show their support by passing resolutions requesting state and federal funding for Wolf's Crossing Road.

A united and continuing lobbying effort by local, county and state officials will be required if Wolf's Crossing Road is to be improved in the next decade.

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