Elgin council looks at proposed Dundee/Summit alignment

A $2.3 million project to widen and align the intersection of Dundee Avenue and Summit Street in Elgin will enhance traffic flow and reduce accidents, city officials said.

Mike Pubentz, the city's senior engineer for capital projects, called it "a very worthwhile project."

The intersection has an odd configuration - for one, Summit Street doesn't run straight there - that results in "significant traffic delays and a significant number of accidents," particularly when people are making left turns, Pubentz told the city council Wednesday night.

"It's one of the few streets in the world where you have to make a right turn and a left turn if you want to go straight," he said.

The plan, part of the 2019 proposed budget, is to widen the intersection to align Summit Street, widen lanes and add turn lanes, Pubentz said. Signal timing would be improved, the pavement would be smoother and curbs would be ADA-compliant and generally "much better for pedestrians." Gifford Street, which currently runs north into Summit Street, would become a cul-de-sac, he said.

All that is expected to reduce congestion and accidents, Pubentz said. The project would start next year with engineering studies, acquisition of easements and soliciting of bids, with a start date in early 2020, Pubentz said.

The city should work with businesses there - they include a CVS, McDonald's and BP gas station - "so they are least negatively impacted as possible," Councilwoman Tish Powell said.

The gas station would be the most affected, Pubentz said. Renderings show road widening would take up a portion of green space next to it.

Gas station owner Hemant Patel said he agrees the intersection needs improvement because there are "too many accidents," but he is concerned about the effect roadwork will have on his business.

"They need to help us very nicely," he said. "They need to help small businesses ... because if we suffer, the city is going to suffer because they get less taxes."

Councilwoman Rose Martinez, a bus driver for Elgin Area School District U-46, said the intersection is notoriously difficult to navigate. "This is something I've been waiting for a long, long time."

The city council had approved in 2008 a plan to install a roundabout at the intersection, but that was scrapped in 2011.

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