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Kane panel OKs letter of intent to partner on I-88, Route 47 interchange

GENEVA – Kane County appears poised to partner officially in the effort to upgrade southwestern Kane County’s interstate interchange.

Wednesday, the Kane County Board’s Transportation Committee unanimously recommended the full County Board authorize county officials to sign a letter of intent to work with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Tollway, and the village of Sugar Grove to improve the interchange at Interstate 88 and Route 47.

Kane County Deputy Director of Transportation Tom Rickert said the letter, which was drafted by IDOT and sent to Sugar Grove in July, would not commit the county to any funding, at this point.

Rather, the letter’s language would create a foundation for future official agreements among the various government agencies governing the road improvement project.

“This letter helps to develop direction on the project, and guide future discussions,” Rickert said.

Sugar Grove Village Administrator Brent Eichelberger said the letter of intent is an essential step in the process, as approval of the letter by the county will clear the way for the village and IDOT to complete those governing agreements and move closer toward beginning design and engineering work on the project.

Eichelberger said the project, at this point, is about “five years out” from the beginning of construction.

Sugar Grove and Kane County officials have sought for years to upgrade the interchange from a partial interchange to a full one, at which traffic can exit and merge from both directions.

Currently, the interchange only allows for eastbound traffic to exit onto Route 47 and for westbound traffic from Route 47 to enter Interstate 88.

In support of the effort, Kane County has made the interchange project one of its top transportation priorities.

The $20 million project already has gained the support of the tollway and IDOT. In the letter of intent, IDOT says it anticipates shouldering 25 percent of the cost.

County and village officials have said the tollway is expected to pay 50 percent of the project’s cost.

That would leave the county and the village to come up with about $5 million between them, Rickert said.

He said the county has earmarked $2 million in its five-year transportation budget for the project.

But that expense has not yet been officially approved by the County Board.

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