The proposed expansion of Quentin Road through the Deer Grove Forest Preserve near Palatine was a hot topic a few years ago, with frequent forums seeking public input and community groups debating the project's scope.
But the project stalled, the forums stopped and the websites dedicated to support or opposition became largely inactive.
Now, the project focused on the one-mile choke point between Dundee and Lake-Cook roads is again getting some attention.
The Cook County Board last month approved spending nearly $150,000 for additional engineering services related to the expansion from two lanes to either three or five lanes. TransSystems Corp. will conduct additional environmental assessments, a second public hearing, and well and septic surveys for properties on Quentin.
John Yonan, superintendent of Cook County's Department of Transportation and Highways, said certain related documents have expired and need to be renewed to satisfy Federal Highway Administration requirements.
"There's no question when you look at this documentation, it's been (sitting) around a little too long and certain timetables have expired," Yonan said. "We're very excited about being able to move the project forward."
Yonan, who's been superintendent for 19 months, said the top priority is the continued safety of the bridge that crosses Salt Creek. It's currently considered structurally deficient, so the county has inspecting it every six months.
A federal earmark to replace the bridge is slated for 2016, so the county is hoping to tackle the expansion at the same time to minimize the inconvenience to residents, Deer Grove visitors and the roughly 23,000 vehicles that county officials say traverse that part of Quentin Road daily.
The exact scope of the expansion -- and the associated price tag -- has yet to be determined. Yonan said the county doesn't have a position on whether three or five lanes should be built.
Proponents of the more modest project include many residents from the neighborhoods off Quentin Road who say waiting for a break in traffic to turn left can be a time-consuming process.
They have said the three-lane plan, which includes a dedicated turn lane, will be safer, cost less and minimize the environmental impact on the forest preserve while still handling traffic.
Supporters of the more ambitious project have said five lanes will alleviate the traffic bottleneck and better accommodate projected regional growth.
While there are plans to implement curbs, gutters and water collection systems to minimize the impact on the wetlands, Yonan said no plans have been finalized for other amenities such as an underpass or a dedicated path for bikers and walkers.
"Honestly, we haven't done our due diligence to come up with a position," Yonan said.
He said the county will be committed to working with residents, Lake County officials, conservation groups, commuters and others to get their input and share information as the project progresses.
"We think that's so critical," Yonan said. "You have to involve all stakeholders."