$14 million lead contamination plan would open Longmeadow Parkway next year

Cleanup would allow Longmeadow Parkway to open next year

The Longmeadow Parkway project will not open to traffic in 2023, but Kane County officials believe they now have a solution to, literally, get the lead out.

The county board's transportation committee gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a $14 million contract with Bartlett-based Bluff City Materials Inc. to remove a mound of lead-contaminated soil just beyond the eastern edge of the Brunner Family Forest Preserve.

The $135 million Longmeadow project saw decades of planning to create a new crossing of the Fox River, ease traffic congestion and spur development on the northern end of the county. The project moved forward, despite late opposition from residents along the construction path, which bisected the Brunner Family Forest Preserve.

The project is funded through a mix of bonds and government funding, including some state money that might reduce, if not eliminate, the toll bridge aspect designed to pay off the bonds and support future maintenance.

The project is complete except for a small stretch just east of the Fox River. A pile of soil contaminated with lead sits there. Figuring out what to do about the lead has delayed the project's completion for the past two years.

There aren't a lot of places eager to accept contaminated soil, and the cost of moving the dirt and having it cleaned was higher than what the county wanted to pay.

The lead found its way into the soil, officials said, because the parkway segment that stretches from the Fox River up to Route 25 runs through a former sportsmen's club. Many years of target shooting at the club left the soil contaminated with lead.

County officials have a new agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency that will see the lead cleaned out of the dirt where it currently sits. The dirt will be hauled off the site after the cleanup.

After that, the 5.6-mile parkway, including a new crossing over the Fox River, will be fully open to the traffic - sometime in the back half of 2024.

The full county board must still vote on the $14 million contract.

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