Naperville buying land to widen North Aurora Road
Naperville has been aiming to widen North Aurora Road west of the Route 59 Metra station for more than 10 years, and the city is now working to buy the land it needs to do so.
The city council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to share the cost of buying parcels needed to widen the road with the Naperville Township Road District, based on whether the properties are incorporated into the city or unincorporated within the township.
The city expects to spend roughly $803,700 to acquire right of way from 11 or 12 properties needed to widen North Aurora Road to two lanes in each direction with a center turn lane between Weston Ridge Drive on the east and Frontenac Road on the west.
Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development, said the project -- along with a separate project further west to widen North Aurora Road at a railroad underpass -- will help ease a common spot for traffic slowdowns in the east-west trip between Naperville and Aurora.
"This is basically a bottleneck in that entire roadway network and causes a considerable amount of congestion," Novack said. "Especially after a train's let out at the Metra station, you'll notice we have a significant delay on that roadway, especially in the westbound direction."
The city began planning this project in 2008 and restarted it in 2015 when a federal grant of $6 million came through.
The work will include updated traffic signals and addition of a bike lane on the south side of the road, Novack said, as well as construction of two sections of a sound wall to protect about a dozen houses on Whispering Winds Drive.
The city is working with a negotiator to buy the land necessary for the widening.
But the city does not have "quick-take rights," in the project, so Novack said staff members will inform the council of any delays if property owners do not want to sell.