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updated: 10/19/2011 5:49 PM

Pedestrian crossing will improve traffic, air quality, officials say

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Plans for a pedestrian bridge over Randall Road in Algonquin are their way to becoming a reality, thanks to a federal grant, officials said.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has been pledged $411 million in federal transportation funds over the next five years; nearly $3.2 million would be allocated to Algonquin for the pedestrian crossing south of Huntington Drive, said Russ Farnum, the village's community development director.

Altogether, the village would get $3.7 million, including $554,000 for a new bike trail along Edgewood Drive from Main Street to Hanson Road.

"It's fabulous. It's not every day you get handed almost $4 million for engineering and construction. With the economy the way it is, it's a huge win for our community," Farnum said.

The bike trail will be built next year, and construction for the pedestrian crossing is expected to begin in 2015.

The bridge will improve traffic flow and air quality as dictated by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which is where the funding comes from, Farnum said.

Pedestrians now press the crossing button, which "slows down the traffic and the turning movements of that intersection so much that you're getting backups almost all the way to Harnish Drive during peak time," Farnum said. With a bridge, "There will be better traffic flow, less polluting, more efficient traffic and happier drivers, which reduces road rage," he said.

The crossing will be accessible to the disabled. Farnum said he hopes people will use it as they shop along Randall Road instead of driving from one side to the other.

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