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Tollway Panel Moves Route 47 Interchange Project Ahead

(John Moore/ Getty Images)

(John Moore/ Getty Images)

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HUNTLEY, Ill. (STMW) – An Illinois Toll Highway Authority board committee has recommended building a long-awaited full interchange at I-90 and Route 47 in northwest suburban Huntley.

The board’s Strategic Planning Committee made the recommendation Wednesday. It paves the way for the full tollway board to vote next week on a proposed agreement involving the ITHA, the village of Huntley, Kane and McHenry counties and the Illinois Department of Transportation authorizing the financing and construction of the $69 million, all-electronic interchange.

According to an ITHA press release, the Route 47 Interchange project would include construction of six new ramps, all-electronic toll collection, bridge reconstruction on Route 47 over I-90, as well as local traffic signal installation and lighting improvements.

Existing ramps only provide access for drivers traveling to and from the east on I-90; those were constructed as part of the original tollway, which opened in 1958.

“Building a complete interchange will create more opportunity for continued economic development along Illinois Route 47 and will open up access between the tollway and a regional north-south transportation route,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur in the release.

“The Illinois Tollway has committed to rebuilding I-90 as a 21st century corridor, and this project will be one of the first pieces to be completed as part of our new Move Illinois capital program.”

The village has been pushing for a full interchange for a decade as a way to spur economic development.

Recent approval of the ITHA’s $12 billion, 15-year capital program — which includes steep hikes in tolls — enabled the ITHA to move the Route 47 Interchange project up to 2012 from 2014, the release said.

Once the agreement is approved by all of the participants, the village of Huntley will finalize construction plans, and the ITHA will lead construction and seek bids for the project. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2012, with completion of the project anticipated in 2013.

“The Illinois Route 47 Interchange project has brought out the best from all involved in a show of intergovernmental cooperation and coordination of limited resources,” said Illinois Tollway Board Director Tom Weisner, who chairs the Illinois Tollway’s Strategic Planning Committee. “Communities looking to the tollway to advance interchange improvements in their own areas should follow the example set by this project.”

Funding Split

According to the ITHA, the project will feature several new green construction initiatives, including a geothermal water piping system that makes use of the Earth’s natural heating and cooling abilities to help heat and cool nearby plaza buildings in a more cost-effective and sustainable manner; reflective roofs and trellised vegetation for plaza buildings to further reduce heating and cooling costs; and ramp shoulder pavement that will allow water to seep through and reduce stormwater runoff.

Under the agreement, the ITHA will finance half of the estimated $69 million project cost. IDOT will contribute about 25 percent, and the remainder will be funded by Huntley and the two counties. Huntley also has funded the $2.5 million cost of preliminary design and engineering studies, as required by the ITHA.

The new interchange will provide full access to and from Route 47 and I-90 in each direction. Officials hope it will help future commercial, office and light industrial space development in the area.

Existing local developments near the interchange include the Huntley Outlet Center and Del Webb’s Sun City Huntley residential development.

The tollway board is scheduled to vote Sept. 29 on the agreement recommendation.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.