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IDOT seeks input on plan for multi-modal transportation

ST. CHARLES – The Illinois Department of Transportation sought public input Tuesday as it develops plans for a $9 billion Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program throughout the state in the next five years.

IDOT representatives answered questions at the Hilton Garden Inn in St. Charles during an open house, where the public could view plans. It was one of 15 meetings planned throughout Illinois as IDOT rolls out its Multi-Modal Transportation Improvement Program, which outlines transportation improvement plans from 2013 through 2018.

Of the $9 billion planned for improvements, $2.436 billion is set to go toward District 1, which is made up of six counties, including Kane County. Of that, more than $84 million will go toward transportation improvements in Kane County.

Marnie Hooghkirk, area programmer for IDOT, said IDOT presents its five-year plan to the public each year, seeking comments and answering questions about plans.

“We do address and provide a response for every comment we get,” she said.

John Baczek, section chief for IDOT’s project and environmental studies, said IDOT has focused on maintaining existing roads and making them safer because funding has been reduced in the past several years.

About 50 transportation improvement projects are planned in Kane County between 2013 and 2018. Several road resurfacing projects are planned, including 8 miles of road in Sugar Grove from the DeKalb County Line to Route 47 and 10.5 miles of road from Dunham Road to Lauren Street.

Ed Barczak of Elgin attended Tuesday’s meeting because he lives near Elgin Community College, where a lot of construction is occurring.

“There are a bunch of huge projects going on by my house,” he said. “This affects your daily commute.”

Barczak said it’s tough to tackle big transportation projects because he knows funding has been limited.

“Nobody wants a tax increase, but everyone wants to get to work,” he said.

Jan Ward, chief of planning and programming for the Kane County Department of Transportation, said she comes to every public outreach meeting for IDOT to make sure the state’s plans coordinate with the county’s. She said many of the county’s roads intersect with roads in the state’s jurisdiction, so it’s important the two entities work together.

Hooghkirk said some improvements in the next five years might not get out of the engineering and planning phase, while others will be started and possibly completed by the end of the five-year plan.

IDOT’s public comment period ends Nov. 1. By December, the plan is slated to be submitted to the governor, the Illinois General Assembly, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for approval.

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