As the Illinois Department of Transportation continues building the Western Algonquin Bypass, more than 40 acres of trees have been removed in its wake, an official has confirmed.
The trees were on the portion of the project that lies on Route 31.
And because IDOT is widening Route 31 into a two-lane highway in each direction, the trees had to come down, said Jae Miller, an IDOT spokeswoman.
The exact number of trees removed was not available Wednesday.
The majority of the trees removed were nonnative trees, she said. IDOT is working with the McHenry County Conservation District and Algonquin officials to secure replacement trees, shrubs and perennials.
Michael Kumbera, an Algonquin spokesman, said the downed trees came as no surprise to officials, since IDOT already bought up the property necessary for the Route 31 expansion.
"To make way for that roadway, they had to do some tree removal," Kumbera said.
IDOT will start planting 36 different types of plants between spring and fall 2014.
They include the Kentucky coffee tree, eastern black walnut and dogwood trees, white lilacs and Panicle hydrangea bushes.
Construction on the long-anticipated project got under way last September.
The new four lane divided highway and diamond interchange being built is designed to relieve congestion in downtown Algonquin by allowing traffic on Route 31 to "bypass" the intersection with Route 62.
Once the project is complete, Route 62 will also offer two lanes in each direction and as well as turning lanes. As well, four new bridges, retaining walls, noise walls, new traffic signals, roadway lighting, landscaping and restoration will be built.
The $33.3 million project is due to be completed by fall of 2014.