Proposed Barrington underpass to be subject of referendum

  • An advisory referendum planned for the November ballot asks Barrington voters whether taxpayer funds should be used to fund construction of a proposed $62 million Route 14 underpass beneath the Canadian National Railway tracks east of Route 59.

    An advisory referendum planned for the November ballot asks Barrington voters whether taxpayer funds should be used to fund construction of a proposed $62 million Route 14 underpass beneath the Canadian National Railway tracks east of Route 59. Courtesy of Village of Barrington

 
 
Posted9/2/2016 5:30 AM

Voters in Barrington will get to weigh in this November on whether the village should spend public funds to build an underpass where Route 14 meets the Canadian National Railway tracks.

The advisory referendum question also asks about taxpayer funding for a related project to realign Lake Zurich Road. Combined, the projects would cost an estimated $67.4 million, with federal and state authorities paying for nearly all of it.

 

Barrington residents Peter and Deborah Cotopolis filed petitions with the Cook and Lake county clerks' offices to get the referendum question on the ballot. The couple, who live a few blocks from where the proposed underpass would be built, turned in nearly 600 signatures from Barrington residents.

The Cotopolises could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The $62 million underpass project, which has been in the works since 2010, would carve a path for Route 14 to go beneath the tracks east of Route 59. That would ensure there is always at least one crossing in the village that won't be shut down by train traffic, its proponents say.

The $5.4 million Lake Zurich Road realignment will move the road south to the intersection of Berry Road and Northwest Highway.

Village President Karen Darch, long an advocate for both projects, said the advisory referendum question strikes her as ambiguous and a little confusing. She noted that, barring any changes to the current plan, the village would pay only $403,317 for the underpass.

"Our goal has always been to get the feds, the state and CN to pay for it because we can't," Darch said. "It's too big of a project for the village to undertake."

The Lake Zurich Road project is fully funded and work could begin next year. The village will contribute about $348,700 to the cost.

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