Lower Longmeadow Parkway construction costs could mean cheaper tolls

The next construction phase for Longmeadow Parkway is expected to cost 25 percent less than the initial estimate, leaving Kane County officials hopeful the price of traveling across the anticipated toll bridge will continue to decline.

The county board's transportation committee Tuesday approved a $13.3 million contract with Hoffman Estates-based Plote Construction to reconstruct and widen Longmeadow Parkway from west of Randall Road to Karen Drive.

The contract shows a cost of about $4.4 million less than the Kane County Department of Transportation's initial projection, which means that money could instead be used for other sections of the 5.6-mile corridor and Fox River bridge, said Carl Schoedel, director of transportation.

Tolls collected on the bridge are expected to repay the $25 million to $30 million in bonds KDOT plans to issue to help fund the project. Current projections indicate the toll could cost drivers about 75 cents or less, said Tom Rickert, the county's deputy transportation director.

If construction bids continue coming in lower than the engineering estimates, however, the amount of money issued in bonds could decline, which would ultimately lower the price of the toll, Schoedel said.

Rickert said the county would also consider nixing the toll altogether if it becomes no longer necessary. “We get closer and closer to perhaps looking at other funding options,” he said.

Construction on the project's second phase would likely begin this spring if the full county board awards the contract, Schoedel said. The work on this section of the roadway includes building the Randall Road intersection, as well as expanding and improving more than a mile of the parkway to the east.

“The road starts to have independent utility,” Schoedel said. “Just the ability for drivers to get from Huntley Road to Randall Road is an important improvement.”

The transportation committee Tuesday also agreed to allot $189,103 toward additional engineering efforts regarding retention walls and landscaping along the section of the parkway that includes the proposed toll bridge.

Additionally, committee members approved a measure authorizing the county to begin incorporating the toll aspect of the project into future plans, said Steve Coffinbargar, assistant director of transportation.

Committee member Jarett Sanchez voted against all Longmeadow Parkway-related items, saying he's continuing to represent his constituents' opposition to the project.

The full county board is expected to consider the resolutions at an upcoming meeting.

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