One of the first actions of new South Barrington Village President Paula McCombie's administration Thursday was to pass a resolution supporting a Route 14 underpass at the Canadian National Railway crossing in neighboring Barrington.
The South Barrington village board's vote came on the last day the village of Barrington and Illinois Department of Transportation were officially accepting public input on whether to build an overpass or an underpass or do nothing where Route 14 and the CN tracks cross.
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McCombie said South Barrington's support of the underpass was based much on its contrast to the overpass option -- a 30-foot-high structure many residents expressed distaste for at a public input meeting late last month at Barrington High School.
"I don't think that would be very visually good for the village (of Barrington)," McCombie said.
Earlier this week, the Barrington Unit District 220 school board decided it needed more time before taking a stance, though it acknowledged the anticipated increased freight traffic on the CN line would affect the district's school bus and student drop-off traffic.
The proposed overpass would cost an estimated $40 million to $50 million and require the loss of one nearby house.
Though the underpass would cost $55 million to $65 million and force the demolition of eight houses and 10 businesses, it seemed to meet with greater favor at last month's meeting. A few affected residents even said they'd rather lose their houses to the underpass than live next door to the overpass.
South Barrington's reconstituted board voted to support the underpass just after the swearing-in of McCombie, new Trustee Therese DeSerto-Cohen and re-elected Trustees Joseph Abbate, Louis Matuska and Anthony Stagno.
Voluntarily stepping down as village president after 12 years -- his second stint in the office -- was Frank Munao. He was praised by colleagues for returning to the presidency at a time of great discord over the unusually dense Woods of South Barrington subdivision and helping turn it into a positive development.