Elgin council scraps roundabout at Dundee Ave., Summit St.

 
 
Updated 8/24/2011 11:08 PM

Elgin City Council members gave unanimous approval Wednesday to cancel plans for a roundabout at the Dundee Avenue and Summit Street intersection.

City staff members recommended scrapping the project largely because the need -- based on projected growth and traffic congestion -- minimized after the economy crashed in 2008.

 

Councilman John Prigge opened discussion by saying he has opposed the roundabout since he was elected to the council in 2009.

"This is a great opportunity for us to say goodbye to this project," Prigge said.

The city purchased the former Dunkin' Donuts property after the business closed, partly for right of way to make space for the roundabout. The building will be demolished and the property will be converted to green space. Public Services Director David Lawry said demolition was always the plan for the building.

The roundabout design was approved in 2008 after intersection improvements first came up in 1995. Since then city staff members have moved forward with property acquisition, like in the case of the Dunkin' Donuts property. But the process has been delayed because several property owners have resisted selling, a situation that Mayor David Kaptain said will only lead to lengthy court fights for the city.

Kaptain said he supported abandoning plans for the roundabout because he no longer believes the benefits of the project warrant claiming eminent domain and seizing property from unwilling sellers.

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"It's divisive and it's expensive," Kaptain said. "The change in our development plans and traffic flows here shifted the balance in this project. The taking of the properties that we would have to acquire aren't worth it to me."

The city has already spent more than $800,000 on the project in the design phases but will save more than $1 million by avoiding construction costs.

City Manager Sean Stegall emphasized during the meeting that the staff recommendation in no way signified a move away from the roundabout design. He said canceling the project only means a roundabout is the wrong idea for this particular intersection at this particular time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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