Certain intersections in Palatine will become a bit safer for drivers and pedestrians thanks to some unforeseen federal and state money.
In one case, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity allocated a $200,000 grant for the village to install pedestrian crosswalks and signals at the busy intersection of Rand and Hicks roads.
Palatine originally intended to do the improvements in 2011, but the required roadway modifications increased the cost to $275,000, and officials put on the brakes. Plans remained in limbo until state Sen. Julie Morrison recently reached out to the village offering help from the state.
"Apparently, the state has money that they discovered because we had a call from our state senator who represents the northeast corner (of Palatine) asking if we had any projects," Village Manager Reid Ottesen said.
Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz lauded the staff for working within the state's tight window of time to identify a couple of proposals that qualified and were ready to proceed immediately.
"This is a much needed project," Schwantz said. "It's a windfall for us. It's like found money. We don't get that from the state very often, so it's nice to see."
Farther south on Northwest Highway, the previously approved plan to install modern traffic signal equipment at six intersections between Palatine Road and Smith Street now includes lighting, too.
The Illinois Department of Transportation considered feedback from Palatine officials and agreed to add roadway poles at Smith, Plum Grove and Benton to address concerns about inadequate lighting.
The newly approved lighting will cost more than $83,000, of which the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program will fund 90 percent. The intersections were targeted for improvements due to the high number of accidents that have taken place along that section of Northwest Highway.
Work is expected to begin this fall.