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Plans to widen Rt. 30 west of Rt. 31 put on display : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Plans to widen Rt. 30 west of Rt. 31 put on display
But Montgomery official cautions that construction years away

by John Etheredge

8/7/2014

With construction now proceeding on the rebuilding and widening of U.S. Route 30 from Briarcliff Road to Goodwin Drive on Montgomery's east side, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials are now in the early stages of developing plans to widen Route 30 between Ill. Route 31 to Ill. Route 47 on the village's west side.

IDOT officials put preliminary plans for the next phase of Route 30 improvement work on public display during a public hearing last Wednesday (July 30) at Montgomery Village Hall.

A large crowd of local residents and area public officials filled the village hall community room to view the plans.

IDOT officials said they have considered four potential designs for the proposed widening project and have already ruled out two. The two remaining designs will be subject to further study.

The two remaining designs call for the construction of a highway with two lanes of traffic in each direction separated by a 30 foot wide center median with curbs and gutters. A ten foot-wide bike path would be constructed on one side of the highway, while a five foot-wide sidewalk would be installed on the opposite site.

One of the designs has a total right-of-way width of 160 feet compared to 140 for the other design. The design with the 160 foot width would include shoulders, while the narrower design would not.

IDOT is following its standard three phase project schedule in planning to improve the highway.

Agency officials said the project is currently in phase one, which includes preliminary engineering, environmental studies and public input.

IDOT is currently planning to announce its preferred design for the project during a second public hearing to be held this winter or next spring.

Funding is not currently available for the second and third phases of the project. Phase two would include preparation of contract plans and land acquisition, while phase three would be actual construction.

Mike Pubentz, the village's public works director and former IDOT engineer, said he and other village officials are pleased IDOT officials have begun planning for the improvement of Route 30 west of Route 31, but noted that actual construction is likely years away.

"If you are in favor of widening Route 30, this is definitely a positive because without this study it doesn't go any further," Pubentz said, adding, "IDOT isn't going to show up one day and say, 'We're going to build it.' They have a process they follow. They have to do all the preliminary work and at least qualify the project for (federal) funding."

Asked when he would expect construction to take place, he said, "If I had to give a ballpark (guess) I would say 10 years."

Pubentz noted that traffic volume on the highway west of Route 31 has increased dramatically over the past decade due to the population growth on the village's west side and in adjoining communities.

IDOT is currently projecting that traffic volume on Route 30 near Orchard Road will increase from 25,000 to 41,000 vehicles per day by 2040.

In addition traffic volume on Route 30 near Route 47 is project to almost double from 11,000 to 19,000 vehicles, also by 2040.

The increasing number of vehicles has resulted in IDOT ranking the intersection of Route 30 and Orchard Road and two sections of Route 30 between Lakewood Creek Drive and Horseman Trail among the state's top five percent highway sections with "pressing safety needs."

During a recent five year period there were a total of 372 accidents resulting in 26 serious injuries and two fatalities, according to IDOT.

Pubentz said he and other village officials are pleased that IDOT's two preferred designs for the highway call for the installation of curbs and gutters since the design will allow the village to maintain much of the landscaped berms that were installed along the highway as the adjoining subdivisions were developed.

Referring to IDOT officials, Pubentz said, "They think they can build it while only going into the berm area just a little bit."

Pubentz said once IDOT picks a preferred design later this winter or early next spring agency and village officials will have a better idea on how many trees may have to be removed from the berms.

IDOT will also have a traffic noise study completed once a preferred design is chosen, according to Pubentz. The study, he said, will be to determine if noise walls will be needed along the highway right-of-way.

"Depending on the outcome of the study, there may be a recommendation to put up noise walls," he said.

Of the two designs, Theresa Sperling, a village board member who attended the hearing, said she prefers the one with the shoulders.

Sperling described the design as a "safer alternative" because it provides a greater separation between the highway traffic lanes and the adjoining bike trail and sidewalk.



Public can post
comments on IDOT website


IDOT is continuing to accept public comment on the project plans. Comments may be posted on the project's website at us30baselineroadstudy.org.

The website includes a public comment form.

IDOT has also posted exhibits and other information concerning the project on the site.




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