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Aurora Beacon-News
May 17, 2006

Kendall backs extra parkway interchanges

• Board reverses position: State plans no funds to examine more locations

By Matthew DeFour

YORKVILLE — Reversing its position from last fall, the Kendall County Board voted Tuesday in favor of additional interchanges on the proposed Prairie Parkway at county highways.

By an 8-2 vote, the board passed a resolution supporting interchanges at Galena Road and Grove Road on the proposed alignment that connects Interstate 88 in central Kane County to Interstate 80 near Minooka. The Kendall resolution endorses an interchange at Caton Farm Road instead of Grove Road if the more westerly route for the 36-mile outer beltway is selected.

However, the recommendation calls for construction of the interchanges "at no cost to Kendall County," making it more of a policy statement than a concrete plan to increase the number of local accesses from five to seven.

"It opens up the eyes of the state that we are now interested," said board member Jeff Wehrli, who was one of the six who voted against a similar proposal in October. He and board members Jessie Hafenrichter, Pam Parr and Dick Whitfield changed their position this time around.

IDOT: No plans for more

The Illinois Department of Transportation, which recently unveiled more specific designs for the parkway, does not plan to include additional interchanges as part of the project, according to IDOT engineer Rick Powell.

Powell added that there has been a lot of interest in building an interchange at Grove Road, because it will be too expensive to add local access at I-88 near Minooka.

"We're not looking at expending additional state funds to study these additional interchanges," Powell said. "They would have to start that initiative on their own. Where they got the funding from would be up to whatever success they could have either raising it locally or trying to get it from somewhere else."

IDOT has secured only a quarter of the funding for the $1 billion project, and expects to build the parkway in sections, starting in as early as 2009 with the stretch between Route 34 and Route 71.

Board debates policy

Board members indicated that the policy decision made more sense because it would take so long for parkway construction to get to Grove Road, where development is already sprouting.

Board member Kay Hatcher, who cast a "no" vote both times along with Chairman John Church, noted during discussion that in her 10 years on the board "this will be the most important vote any of us have taken."

"The second we begin to consider county roads," she said, "we will be opening up a floodgate that could destroy any quality of life in that part of Kendall County."

Board member Bill Wykes disagreed with Hatcher's assessment.

"If (growth) is coming — and it's coming — we may as well be able to use it," Wykes said. "We do our citizens a disservice if we don't plan ahead and get an interchange at a heavily traveled road."