Bids are expected to be opened next month for reconstruction of the Barrington Road bridge over the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway and the long-awaited building of a full interchange there.
Meanwhile, details of how to fund it through an agreement among the village of Hoffman Estates, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and the Illinois Department of Transportation continue to be worked out, Hoffman Estates Mayor Bill McLeod said.
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Officials last year indicated the tollway would pick up about half the project's anticipated $65 million to $70 million cost, with IDOT and the village each picking up a quarter of the tab.
Reconstruction of the bridge is expected to begin in May and be completed by the middle of 2015, Hoffman Estates Director of Transportation Mike Hankey said. The new interchange ramps -- providing access for the first time to traffic to and from the west -- would not be completed until the end of 2016, however.
The long-term benefits are significant for both economic development and -- because of the proximity of St. Alexius Medical Center -- public health and safety, McLeod said.
Hankey hopes drivers will keep these long-term benefits in mind as they feel the traffic impact over three construction seasons.
Alexian Brothers Health System has been one of the strongest supporters of the full interchange due to the improved access it would provide to St. Alexius. It is contributing $1 million to the village's share, McLeod said.
The medical center draws both emergency and nonemergency patients from as far west as Carpentersville and Elgin, for whom the interchange will be of immense help, said Kelley Clancy, vice president of external affairs for Alexian Brothers Health System.
Today, an ambulance trip beginning just east of the Route 59 exit must travel all the way to Route 53 and likely head to either Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village or Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights from that point, Clancy said. That adds another 14 minutes to a patient's journey as opposed to exiting at Barrington Road for St. Alexius.
While some patients can handle that, for others it could mean the difference between life and death or disability, Clancy said.
Hoffman Estates has been working on getting a full interchange at Barrington Road for at least 20 years, McLeod said. Hankey said the project has been on the Hoffman Estates' to-do list since he began working for the village in 1993.
It's finally happening because the coming widening of the tollway to four lanes in each direction makes reconstruction of the bridge necessary. The tollway widening is expected to accommodate 30,000 more vehicles per day.
Though the interchange is ultimately being driven by the tollway's own timetable, Clancy said Alexian Brothers is pleased that it's happening.
"Money is a real issue, and there's always more priorities than dollars," she said. "We as a hospital understand that."
The Barrington Road improvements also will include a Pace bus park-and-ride facility contained within the footprint of the interchange, Hankey said.