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updated: 11/30/2012 4:54 PM

Elburn's Anderson Road extension is still possible

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The proposed Anderson Road extension and bridge isn't completely dead -- more like on life support, for up to six more months.

Earlier this month, Kane County was prepared to withdraw its request for permission from the Illinois Commerce Commission to build the bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks near Elburn. It believed it couldn't get the 70 acres it needed for the project, because its potential contract with the seller was contingent on something else, according to its motion -- the village approving the seller's Elburn Station nearby real estate development.

In October, Elburn tabled a vote on the development until after the bridge is built.

At an ICC hearing Nov. 7, the county's attorney instead asked to remove the withdrawal motion, and got a six-month extension to May 7.

In the meantime, attorney Patrick Jaeger said all parties involved will work toward a solution.

"This is still an important project for us," Kane County Transportation Division Director Carol Schoedel said Friday.

Shodeen Inc. owns the land needed for the extension. It proposes building residences and businesses around it, near the Elburn Metra station. The extension would connect Keslinger Road to Route 38. A bridge pier is already in place, built when the Metra station and railroad yard was built.

The village and the developer had talked about the development since 2005, and an initial concept plan was approved in 2008 and a second, revised concept plan in 2011.

"The ball is really in Elburn's court," said Dave Patzelt, president of Shodeen Inc. He said he is waiting for the village to contact him about the status of the development. The matter could come up for a vote before a bridge is built, if any of the trustees who voted in favor of tabling ask to bring it back.

Village President Dave Anderson said he disagreed with the idea it is up to Elburn, saying whether to build the extension is up to Shodeen.

The county board voted in June to spend $2.14 million to buy the 70 acres, and authorized the county board chairman to execute a contract. "We were somewhat anticipating the developer would have an approved development," Schoedel said. The county is still in negotiations.

He did not want to comment on whether the county would seek the land through condemnation.

The 2-mile extension was intended to reroute traffic, including truck traffic, from Route 47 as it moves through downtown Elburn. It would also replace the Pouley Road crossing, which the railroad would like to close. The county had planned to start construction this fall, building embankments out of dirt excavated for the real estate development.

About $18 million in federal funding was earmarked for the project in the 2005 federal surface transportation bill. Some county and village officials have worried that delays in the project would jeopardize the funding, as that bill expired and a new one has replaced it.

"That's always a concern, and it is a legitimate concern," Schoedel said. To keep federal funding on a project, it is important to demonstrate "forward progress," he said.

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