WOODSTOCK – In a 17-7 vote, the County Board on Tuesday decided to move forward with a conventional intersection design at Randall and Algonquin roads, if Randall Road is widened in the future.
The conventional intersection design replaces the controversial continuous flow intersection plan that had previously been proposed and received promised funding from the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Agency.
The new plan now is to add third left-turn lanes on Algonquin Road and second left-turn lanes on Randall Road. It also would eliminate several curb cuts near the intersection and limit several retail exit points to right-in, right-out, but allow left-hand turns at others at the request of area merchants.
While the overall project includes widening 3½ miles of Randall Road to six lanes from its start at Ackman Road south to the Kane County line, the proposed and unpopular CFI at Randall and Algonquin had dominated the discussion in recent years.
Even though Tuesday's vote was only on whether to move forward with a conventional intersection design, and not to give the go-ahead for the overall Randall Road widening, there was debate on whether there should be money spent on improving Randall.
Lake in the Hills resident Deborah Jenssen said she is concerned about increased flooding if there is more pavement on Randall Road.
"Is this going to exacerbate that problem even more?" Jenssen asked.
She added she doesn't see a problem with traffic on Randall.
"It seems to fly past my house just fine," Jenssen said.
Lake in the Hills Village President Paul Mulcahy repeated his support for an improvement on Randall Road.
"Will this project be expensive? Absolutely. Will it provide jobs? Absolutely." Mulcahy said. "Will it make the road safer? Absolutely. Will it be a benefit for everyone in the county? Absolutely. ... Is it worth the expense? Absolutely."
Algonquin Village President John Schmitt said the infrastructure improvement is necessary to help with business growth and compared the proposed project to a college education.
"It's an investment into your community," Schmitt said.
Board member Carolyn Schofield, who also serves on the CMAP board, said McHenry County is prime for development and that Randall Road is a major arterial road within the county.
County Board Member Donna Kurtz, who voted against the resolution, questioned the projected growth in traffic numbers. She cited the growth in people who telecommute to work, those who shop online, and added people are leaving the state.
County Board Member Nick Provenzano questioned spending upward of $92 million on the Randall Road improvements in order to save five to six minutes of travel time.
The $92 million estimate would include land acquisition for the project, even though land acquisition costs have yet to be determined.
County Board member John Hammerand said there are other roads in the county that need improvements.
In a CFI, the left-turn lanes at Randall Road would have started several hundred feet back at a new set of signals that would – for a stretch – direct the cars onto the oncoming traffic lanes. But building a CFI would have required closing other retail entry points.
One of the selling points of the CFI was that $10.6 million in federal pollution mitigation money had been promised.
TranSystems, the outside consultants hired by the county, using lower projected growth numbers for the area, suggested the conventional intersection would be effective enough at moving projected traffic.