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Lauzen wants voters to decide on Longmeadow Parkway

GENEVA – If County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen gets his way, county residents will get to decide whether to proceed with a long-planned project to improve transportation on the county’s north end.

Wednesday, during a meeting of the County Board Transportation Committee, Lauzen told members that he would be reluctant to support any further work on the proposed Longmeadow Parkway project without a demonstration of public support for the large regional road project in coming months.

“We have people who come out of office and come into office, but the constituents are always there,” Lauzen said. “My support for this project is contingent on a referendum.”

The project to build about 5 miles of roadway in the Algonquin, Lake in the Hills and Carpentersville area from Route 62 to Huntley Road, focused on a toll bridge over the Fox River, has been in the works for about two decades.

A fact sheet distributed by the Division of Transportation indicated that the project is needed to alleviate “severe congestion and delay” traffic issues on existing bridges in Algonquin, West Dundee and East Dundee.

KDOT estimated more than 200,000 vehicles a day cross the bridges over the Fox River from Elgin to Algonquin.

The project is estimated to cost about $117 million. But KDOT officials have said they expect the project would be heavily financed by federal and state transportation funds and would be supported by tolls charged to motorists using the bridge.

KDOT Deputy Director Tom Rickert said the tolls would be needed to make sure residents of southern McHenry County pay for the bridge, as well. KDOT’s information sheet notes the county has received $9 million in federal funds to purchase land, and the county has acquired about 60 percent of the land needed.

KDOT also noted the village boards of 10 surrounding municipalities, including Algonquin, Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee, Huntley, Hampshire, Lake in the Hills and Gilberts, have passed resolutions supporting the bridge project.

Previously, the project was designated as one of Kane County’s top transportation priorities.

But Lauzen said he needs more proof that the project is desired by the county. He said the project deserves to be on the county’s transportation “wish list,” but he said the matter should go to referendum in 2014.

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