Road capacity issue puts south Naperville subdivision on hold

A traffic capacity issue on an east-west road south of Naperville has led the city council to put a hold on plans to annex a 110-acre plot and allow construction of a new subdivision.

Intersection upgrades to fix long westbound delays on 119th Street at Route 59 likely would cost $10 million and take six to eight years to complete, city officials estimate.

But council members said they would want the expanded intersection infrastructure in place before allowing homebuilder D.R. Horton to construct a subdivision called Polo Club.

So instead of approving the plans for 325 townhouses and 155 houses, the council on Tuesday night tabled the proposal indefinitely. The move means six council members would need to agree to bring it back for consideration at a later date.

Neighbors opposed to this plan - the fourth version presented for the proposed Polo Club subdivision since summer 2018 - brought a visual of their traffic concerns to the council.

They showed drone footage of an afternoon backup on 119th Street heading west toward Route 59, even counting the cars (there were 95) and measuring the length of the line (about 3,000 feet or six-tenths of a mile). Neighbors said a backup like that takes four traffic signal cycles, or nine minutes, to get through, and they fear it only would be worse if D.R. Horton is allowed to build 480 homes.

Danielle Dash, a land acquisitioner for D.R. Horton, said the builder would widen 119th adjacent the development to add a center turn lane. She said D.R. Horton also would add a right-turn lane at the intersection of 119th and Route 59 for cars heading west that want to go north.

The lane could help shorten delays, but officials said it wouldn't fix the whole problem because much of the westbound traffic actually wants to turn south on Route 59 and head toward Plainfield.

Adding lanes on one of four legs of the intersection wouldn't help, which is why a major project to widen the entire crossing would be needed, said Bill Novack, director of transportation, engineering and development.

The segment of 119th Street in question is under the jurisdiction of the Wheatland Township Road District, but the part of it adjacent the development would become Naperville's if the city annexed the Polo Club site, Novack said. Widening the intersection, then, would require cooperation from the city, the township, Plainfield and Will County, he said. Paying for it likely would rely on federal funds.

Some council members praised the housing options presented for Polo Club, which Dash said would offer "a diversity of housing at a variety of price points."

And some nearby residents, such as Jeff Maxick, said the development proposed now is better than the first drawings nearly two years ago, which called for 309 apartments, 319 townhouses and 95 houses.

But council members also said the area isn't ready for more housing until the roads can handle the traffic.

"It's premature," council member Patty Gustin said. "We don't have all the kinks worked out."

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