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updated: 6/19/2013 10:52 AM

Meacham Road expansion on Rolling Meadows' August agenda

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The controversial widening of the rural portion of Meacham Road will be discussed in August, the Rolling Meadows City Council decided Tuesday.

Mayor Tom Rooney said area residents -- who have been outspoken at previous meetings -- were not at the council meeting, and he wanted to be sure they knew when the issue was on the table.

The Illinois Department of Transportation sent a letter in May outlining a $7.4 million project with Rolling Meadows and Schaumburg splitting a $225,000 tab and the federal and state governments covering the rest.

Rooney is on record supporting the project if the road is expanded only to three lanes including a turn lane, rather than the four or five that state officials suggested earlier.

Fred Vogt, director of public works, said it will be important to double check with IDOT officials to be sure they still support the three-lane alternative.

While traffic has been projected at 21,000 cars per day, the addition of westbound ramps at Meacham and the Jane Addams Tollway could raise that to 23,000, said Edward J. Kalina, president of Engineering Solutions Team in Downers Grove, which was involved in a feasibility study for road improvements. The increased traffic could return pressure to make the road wider, taking more land and more drastically changing the character of the hilly, tree-lined road.

IDOT will use state and federal funds to rebuild the road on the condition that the city then take ownership and responsibility for future maintenance.

4th Ward Alderman Brad Judd spoke against city ownership of the road, saying it represents double taxation for residents because their state and federal taxes will not decrease, but they will be responsible for future costs.

"Let IDOT build it however they want and move forward," Judd said. "Let them keep the road and make it three or five lanes."

Vogt said there are funds available to help pay for fixing major thoroughfares even though the city now owns them.

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