Long-Awaited Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Project Gets $45 Million Shift Into Overdrive

Longmeadow Parkway artist's rendering Longmeadow Parkway corridor

A two-decades-long dream of building a new bridge corridor over the Fox River in northern Kane County takes a leap forward Wednesday, June 4, with the official announcement of a $45 million commitment from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The long-awaited Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor — likely the most ambitious construction project in Kane County history — is expected to help relieve severe traffic congestion in northern Kane County and provide a significant economic shot in the arm for residents and businesses throughout the region.

In 2013, Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen called on County Board members, staff and municipal leaders to work with state and federal governments to secure additional funding for the project.

“Last year, I challenged the community to find an additional $10 million to $15 million or more to minimize the use of county funds and bring this project closer to fruition. I am delighted that we have met and exceeded that goal,” Lauzen said.

The estimated $120 million construction project would create a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing and roadway corridor with a median, approximately 5.6 miles in length, from Huntley Road to IL Route 62, providing a “much-needed alternative to the existing Fox River crossings,” Kane County Transportation Director Carl Schoedel said.

Schoedel said the bridge corridor will link three state routes — Route 25, Route 31 and Route 62 — and Randall Road, which is part of the National Highway System.

“Recognizing the economic benefit and benefits to the state highway system, the county and state have been cooperating since day one on this project,” Schoedel said.

The county estimates that it could begin construction as soon as 2015, pending completion of engineering, land acquisition and finalizing the funding package. Although officials are using $120 million as a ballpark price tag for construction, the total could be adjusted depending on the final design.

The project is presently in the Phase II engineering stage, and the county is pursuing needed rights of way, having acquired about 60 percent of the land needed for the project.

Funding Approach

Kane County’s efforts to secure funding are not over.

To date, funding for the environmental studies, Phase I engineering, and land acquisition of the bridge corridor has been jointly provided by Kane County, the state of Illinois and the federal government, with municipalities also participating with some of the right-of-way dedications.

Phase II engineering will provide updated, more-accurate cost estimates in a matter of weeks or months. That information will help Kane County determine how much funding will be needed.

Future funding will come from a combination of user fees (tolls) and local, state and federal funds. Kane County will collect the tolls using an I-Pass-compatible system in cooperation with the Illinois Tollway. Exactly how much that toll will be has not been determined at this time, but the $45 million in state and Council of Mayors funding — plus any future nonlocal funding — will ensure that the toll rate is as low as it can be.

“This unique funding approach and continued partnership with the state of Illinois helps to move this regionally significant project forward with lesser impacts to the county’s transportation funds,” Schoedel said.

An added benefit is that the tolls provide a mechanism for non-Kane County users to assist in paying for a portion of the costs.

‘Unprecedented Support’

After years of comprehensive study, the Longmeadow Parkway project has received many signs of support, including the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement, the Federal Highway Administration’s Record of Decision in 2002, approvals of tolling considerations in 2009/2010, and Phase I engineering design approval in December 2013.

Municipalities in northern Kane County have been instrumental partners throughout the process. Schoedel said that the project has had “unprecedented support,” with no less than 12 supporting resolutions from local government bodies, including two counties — Kane and McHenry — and 10 surrounding municipalities: Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Gilberts, Hampshire, Huntley, Lake in the Hills, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee.

More recently, the Kane Kendall Council of Mayors demonstrated its support for the project by programming $5 million of the $45 million total federal funds for the project.

“This commitment is the result of focused teamwork and collaboration,” Lauzen said. “The project consists of a unique local, state and federal partnership, which is a model for future transportation investments. The corridor has been a long-term vision of the County Board, and we are thankful for the ongoing partnership with the state of Illinois and federal government.”

 

SOURCE: Kane County press release

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14 responses to “Long-Awaited Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Project Gets $45 Million Shift Into Overdrive

  1. This is really great news. Algonquin has been working on this project by setting aside land and actually creating the first phase of Longmeadow in the mid 90s. Along with the Kane County Board and 10 other communities forged a coalition ten years ago and this is the very positive result. Thank you Kane County Board for your dedication to this very important project to northern Kane.

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  2. Pingback: LONG-AWAITED LONGMEADOW PARKWAY BRIDGE PROJECT GETS $40 MILLION SHIFT INTO OVERDRIVE | The Barrington Hills Observer·

  3. Are they going to leave the present bridge? And wouldn’t be cheaper to just put 31 on a bridge when it crosses 62? Remember toll roads are never paid off and our toll roads were supposed to be paid off over 20 years ago

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    • The answer to the first question is a huge NO. That kind of span would cost several hundred million. Two: The tollway was built open ended. The statement that tolls would end when it is finished left it up to the toll authority to determine when it was finished. In this case, the bonds being purchased for Longmeadow are a finite amount like an auto loan. Pay it off… tolls end.

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  4. This is incredibly good news for northern Kane County. After twenty plus years of effort by many many people, Longmeadow Parkway will become a reality. Not just the vision of a few very forward thinking people many years ago. Thank you to all from the mayors and boards of the surrounding communities, the County Board and Chairs McConnaughay and Lauzen, Governor Quinn and state staff, and the incredible work of the County and Village staffs. This will bring many jobs to several industrial parks in Carpentersville, Algonquin, and Huntley and relieve congestion.

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  5. Good infrastructure is good for business, it goes hand and hand. Exactly the message President Obama was trying to make.

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  6. I understand it is needed but what I don’t understand why it has to be a toll bridge? South Elgin got the Stearns Road bridge from the state with no toll and St. Charles got the Red Gate road bridge with no toll…

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    • Back in the good or bad old days, depending how you look at it, there were Earmarks. Those were politically obtained chunks of money that powerful Congressmen obtained for their districts. That is how you got the ” bridge to nowhere” situations. After the crash in 2008, congress made earmarks illegal so other sources of money for projects had to be sourced. Sterns was largely built with earmark money from Denny Hastert while they were still available. Not a bad thing at all but some took advantage. In Illinois, there is pityfully little money for new highway projects unless a unique funding partnership is available. That is the very simple answer to why tolls. The municipalities passed resolutions supporting the use of tolls as a significant portion of the cost to build Longmeadow Pkwy. That is the wave of the future. You have to have money in you hand when you hold it out for infrastructure improvements. It make us, the elected, work harder and that, my friend, is a good thing.

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      • While what you say has merit about the reduction of earmarks, I can honestly say I don’t think I will be using the road while a toll is collected for its’ use. Like the tollways, I do not think once a governmental agency starts collecting money for something, that they will ever stop collecting it. The Tollways were supposed to be closed ended bond repayments when the ISTHA was created, but they keep expanding their scope and including more highways into the mix AND increasing tolls along the way. Government gets their fingers in your wallet and will not let go. (For an example, see the recent ‘temporary’ income tax hike that has now been made permanent.)

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      • Unless the legislature reconvened yesterday from summer break, the temporary tax increase was not renewed. There are many who feel that tolls are not worth it and refuse to use the roads. Your choice. That is why it is called a user fee and is not a tax that really never goes away. We need the bridge and highway and the choice is use a toll bridge and drive on it in 3 more years or wait for some other funding source and wait, and wait, and wait…..

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  7. Call tolls what you will, they are a use tax. Kane county has some of the highest sales and property tax in the country and still can’t build a road without reaching further into the taxpayers pockets. Yet another reason people are leaving this sinking ship of a state

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  8. I want some of what Mr. Schmitt is smoking! You may rest assured that the tolls on the Longmeadow Parkway will never go away. Like just about everything else in Illinois, once they have it, it will go somewhere else rather than for what it was earmarked . Remember the extravagant spending by the tollway? Remember how The Lottery was going to pay for schools? The tax hike is here to stay, also. I, however, am not staying. I will be out of this state, none too soon, this summer. You may have it all to your self.

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  9. Pingback: Kane County Reappoints Schielke to Pace Board | Kane County Connects·

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