McHenry County drops controversial intersection plan

  • McHenry County has dropped a controversial idea to build a continuous-flow intersection at Algonquin and Randall roads for improved traffic flow. The proposal would have allowed through traffic to move unimpeded through the intersection while simultaneously allowing left turns from a crossover lane regulated by a separate light. Officials are now considering a more conventional intersection improvement proposal that includes adding through and turn lanes and limiting access points.

      McHenry County has dropped a controversial idea to build a continuous-flow intersection at Algonquin and Randall roads for improved traffic flow. The proposal would have allowed through traffic to move unimpeded through the intersection while simultaneously allowing left turns from a crossover lane regulated by a separate light. Officials are now considering a more conventional intersection improvement proposal that includes adding through and turn lanes and limiting access points. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/9/2014 5:55 PM

McHenry County officials have dropped a controversial idea to build a new kind of intersection at Algonquin and Randall roads for improved traffic flow.

The McHenry County Board's Transportation Committee recently voted 3-2 to reject the proposed continuous-flow intersection, or CFI, which would allow through traffic to move unimpeded through the intersection while simultaneously allowing left turns from a crossover lane regulated by a separate light.

 

The McHenry County Board will consider a more conventional intersection improvement proposal that includes adding through and turn lanes and limiting access points at its Sept. 16 meeting. That proposal calls for three left turn lanes on Algonquin Road and four through lanes on Randall Road, said Wally Dietrich, design manager for the McHenry County Division of Transportation.

"With the triple lefts we were able to restore some of the access we were restricting with the other (CFI) alternative," Dietrich said.

The move comes after months of lobbying by businesses and property owners along the Randall Road corridor and by officials in Lake in the Hills, who opposed the CFI idea because it would have required a major redesign of that intersection.

"The proposal for a CFI just caused too many closures of access points for our businesses," Lake in the Hills Village President Paul Mulcahy said. "I actually think there is some value to that type of configuration. It was the wrong place for what probably is a workable solution in the right place."

The intersection work is part of the 3.5-mile Randall Road improvement project, estimated to cost roughly $115 million, including construction, land acquisition and engineering. The segment of Randall Road being improved, from Algonquin Commons north to Ackman Road, falls within the villages of Algonquin, Lake in the Hills and Crystal Lake. The project calls for widening the entire stretch to three lanes in each direction, building dual left-turn lanes and right-turn-only lanes at major signaled intersections.

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Lake in the Hills officials questioned the population projections and traffic counts the county originally was using, as well as the cost estimate for building the CFI.

County officials reviewed those numbers after the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning updated its population projections for the region using the 2010 census. That lowered estimates for the county's population, and traffic counts also went down, Dietrich said.

The total cost for the Randall Road project with the conventional intersection improvements is estimated at roughly $66.4 million, not including land acquisition.

Dietrich said the CFI alone would have cost more than $16 million, which also is revised from an earlier estimate of $13 million.

Mulcahy commended county officials for listening to the community's concerns.

"They are representatives for the people and the communities, and that's what they are supposed to do," he said. "This new proposal for a conventional intersection ... I think it's a splendid solution to a problem that is real and does need to be fixed."

For more information on the project, visit randallroad.info.

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