Residents of Pingree Grove are frustrated with lengthy traffic backups along Route 72 at Big Timber Road outside the village limits, and have mounted an email campaign to push for a traffic light.
Earlier this week, Pingree Grove Trustee Bernie Thomas encouraged residents of the Cambridge Lakes subdivisions, which is west of the intersection, to email state Sen. Karen McConnaughay. The intersection has a four-way stop sign.
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"The traffic backs up all the way to Gilberts," Thomas said. "We were promised it would happen this year, but nothing."
Backups along Route 72 -- eastbound in the morning, westbound in the evening -- can be up to a mile long, said resident Trisha Nowosielski, who emailed McConnaughay. Congestion on Big Timber Road is not as bad, she said.
Frustrated drivers will simply turn around, Nowosielski said. "Just last night, I saw three or four different vehicles that did U-turns," she said.
Resident Frank White, who also emailed McConnaughay, says a round trip to Woodman's in Carpentersville should take about 25 minutes, but can take up to an hour with backups on Route 72. "Next thing you know, you're sitting in traffic," he said.
A Kane County Division of Transportation official confirmed the congestion, but noted Route 72 is under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transporation, while Big Timber Road is a county road.
"It's an improvement that is warranted," said Steve Coffinbargar, an assistant director of transportation. "We wholeheartedly agree with IDOT pursuing this project."
McConnaughay and IDOT officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
The state agency initially planned to open bids this summer, but that was postponed to June 2017, depending on funding availability and land acquisition, Coffinbargar said.
In addition to installing traffic lights, IDOT is planning to reconstruct and repave the road, install a guardrail and traffic barriers, and improve the drainage system, at an estimated cost of $3.8 million, he said. That does not include needed land acquisition, he said.
The county has budgeted $30,000 for traffic lights on Big Timber Road, Coffinbargar said.
Residents said waiting three or more years is unacceptable, especially when the area's population keeps increasing.
"They keep putting up more rooftops in my neighborhood," White said.
"I really stress the importance of getting funding earlier," Nowosielski said. "If you go to Pingree Grove, they're just building houses like crazy."
U.S. Census data shows the village's estimated population grew by 20 percent from 2010 to 2013, from 4,532 residents to 5,458.