The long-awaited Algonquin Bypass project that has been in the works for three years now will open Thursday, Sept. 4, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced Saturday.
The $88.5 million project created a new, four-lane, 2.2-mile segment of Route 31 that allows motorists to bypass downtown at Route 31 and Route 62. The downtown road will be allowed to become more pedestrian friendly.
Quinn said the new bypass will enhance the quality of life for residents in the area and make the region more attractive for economic development and job creation.
Local officials were equally excited to have the work wrapping up. Once open, control of the older portion of Route 31 through downtown will be transferred to the village of Algonquin.
"We've got a lot of plans and a lot of effort has gone into the development and renovation of downtown," said Algonquin Village President John Schmitt. "We do have a historic downtown and it's the heart and soul, just like every community, which is very important. It returns Main Street to a downtown street."
Schmitt said city engineers are working with state workers to get all the traffic lights and other devices synchronized to make the area properly accessible.
The majority of funding for the bypass project -- $63.5 million -- came from state sources, Quinn said. But an additional $22.1 million in federal dollars was also allocated. Some local funding was also contributed.
"McHenry County residents have waited three years for this day," Quinn said in a news release. "The project supported more than 1,000 jobs and will greatly improve transportation efficiency throughout the region and benefit residents and businesses for many years to come."
Additional roadwork will continue on Route 31 between Trinity Drive and Rakow Road that is expected to be completed in the spring. Motorists are also cautioned to be alert for workers finishing up landscaping and cleaning up the work zone for the next few weeks.