Signs Fan the Flames on Fleming Road Repair

Turning onto Fleming Road from Country Club Road west of Woodstock, this is the first sign one sees. in the background is a three message electronic sign board which is very difficult to photograph in full sunlight.

There’s an Initial Public Meeting to consider reconstruction of Bull Valley’s Fleming Road tomorrow afternoon and early evening.

It will be held from 4-7 at the County Administrative Building in Conference Rooms A & B.

Here’ the county’s objective:

The goal of the project is to develop a preferred improvement plan for Fleming Road which replaces the deteriorated pavement, improves safety, limits disruption to property owners, and maintains the character of the corridor.

If you remember the uproar about spending millions on Alden Road (sometimes called the ‘Road to Nowhere”), you will have some idea of what the fight against upgrading Fleming Road will be like.

That was a ten mile stretch and, ignoring the cost of bridge replacement, its price tag was about $10 million.

Fleming Road, on the other hand, is only 2.5 miles long.

Another sign along the raod says, "SAVE OUR TREES & HILLS." Red red enough even for my red-green color blind eyes to see.

The traffic count north of Bull Valley road is 2,900 vehicles a day, while the southern leg is 2,600 per day.  (There are twice as many vehicles rolling past the Skinner homestead on Lake Avenue in Lakewood each day.)

I couldn’t get a cost estimate out of Design Engineer Walter R. Dittrich:

“We are going out before we’ve done an ounce of engineering.”

I asked Dittrich how bad Fleming Road is. He stated the obvious several different ways:

“This is the only road that is posted at six tons per axle.”

This winter when the road had problems, the crew found they were “trying to patch about 3-4 inches of asphalt on clay.”

“There’s nothing left to resurface. The pavement is beyond its useful life.”

Pretty much like a l of other roads through Bull Valley, but, in this case, road repair will be financed by county taxpayers, not Bull Valley taxpayers.

I remember driving up Fleming Road last summer and seeing a small compactor rolling asphalt into place.

Map with Fleming Road circled.

Folks in Bull Valley want horrible roads.

They think the bumpy pothole filled potholes discourage people from uses their village to get from one side of the village to the other.

But, there’s this little problem.

This major north-south road is a county highway.

It goes from Route 120 east of Woodstock to Country Club Road.

Now the odds of people showing up who just use Fleming Road to get through Bull Valley are pretty poor.

Most of those who attend the Tuesday afternoon meeting will be residents of Fleming Road or other village residents who see this as a threat to their desired way of life in Bull Valley.

Here’s the letter that explains to residents what the county highway department wants to do:

To Whom It May Concern:

The McHenry County Division of Transportation (MCDOT) has contracted with TranSystems to perform an engineering study for Fleming Road from Country Club Road to Illinois Route 120 (see attached Location Map).

"NO FLEMING ROAD EXPANSION" reads another sign printed in bright red ink.

The purpose of this letter is to inform you, as a property owner or resident along the project limits, of the beginning of the engineering study process. The project goal, topographic survey subsurface geotechnical investigation, project schedule, public involvement, and communication are described as follows:

Project Goal

The goal of the project is to develop a preferred improvement plan which replaces deteriorated pavement, improves safety, limits disruption to property owners, and maintains the character of the corridor. This goal will be achieved by engaging with the project stakeholders which include residents, property owners, local officials, townships, police and fire departments throughout the project duration. Input from and discussions with project stakeholders will help shape the look of the improvement.

Topographic Survey and Subsurface Geotechnical Investigation

The engineering study process will begin with a topographic survey and subsurface geotechnical investigation to collect information used in the study. The topographic survey will identify right-of-way and property corners for use in the preliminary design process and gather physical features along the roadway. Please allow them to enter your lands while performing their required duties as consultants of the County. They are authorized to do this in accordance with Chapter 605, Act 5, Section 4-503 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (Illinois Highway Code) which reads as follows:

“For the purpose of making subsurface soil surveys, preliminary surveys and determinations of the amount and extent of such land, rights or other property required, the Department, or any county, by it’s officers, agents, or employees, after written notice to the known owners and occupants, if any, may enter upon the lands or waters of any persons, but subject to responsibility for all damages which shall be occasioned thereby.”

This yard sign says, "NO RIGHT OF WAY LAND SEIZURE."

This survey crew will conduct their work in a manner intended to avoid property or crop damage, but any damages caused by their operations will be the responsibility of the County in accordance with the above statute. During this process, you will notice flags and wooden stakes being placed in the right-of-way and around your property. These items are used by the surveyors to mark their reference points and do not indicate where the limits of any improvements will necessarily be.

Also, trees along the corridor will be tagged for identification of the size, health, and species. The tree tags will not compromise the health of the trees, and if a tree is tagged it does not mean that it will necessarily be removed during the project.

During the subsurface geotechnical investigation, soil samples and pavement cores will be collected with drilling equipment. Samples will be tested to document the existing soil conditions and provide stability and drainage characteristics for supporting a new roadway. This work will be mostly limited to the roadway and shoulder area.

The topographic survey is anticipated to begin in the next few weeks (weather permitting) and the geotechnical investigation are anticipated to begin the next few months.

Project Schedule

A 40 M.P.H curve on the southern leg of Fleming Road.

The project is initiated with this introduction letter and is anticipated to be in study and design phases for 2010 and 2011 and the construction phase in late 2011 through 2012. The following are a few early estimated schedule milestones:

  • January 2010 – Begin Topographic Survey
  • January/February 2010 – Newsletter Update and Invitation to Initial Public Meeting
  • February 2010 – Initial Public Meeting
  • February/March 2010 – Begin Geotechnical Investigation
  • March 2010 – Issue Resident Questionnaire

First Newsletter for the Fleming Road project.

Public Involvement

The County’s intention is to regularly correspond with the project stakeholders, solicit suggestions, concerns, and ideas in the form of a resident questionnaire, and provide opportunities for discussions with the public during the study and design phases. Input from the stakeholders will be combined with design criteria and practices to arrive at a consensus for the preferred improvement.


The primary means to communicate information to the stakeholders will be through newsletters and a project website.

The first newsletter, anticipated to be mailed in January or February of 2010, will include information about the time and location of an initial Public Informational Meeting.

A website is currently being developed to provide the user the opportunity to keep informed and offer input on project related issues. Look for more information about the website in the first newsletter. If you know of an individual that desires to be added to the mailing list, please contact TranSystems, our project consultant, using the information below.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Mr. David Block, Project Manager with TranSystems at (847) 407-5313 / or myself at (815) 334-4980 /

Very truly yours,

Walter R. Dittrich, P.E.
Design Manager

= = = = =
More information in this later article.


Signs Fan the Flames on Fleming Road Repair — 5 Comments

  1. The BVPD has to be salivating at the revenue prospects of county-funded improvements bringing greater speeding ticket writing opportunities. Are their hiding spots slated to paved as well?

  2. Good story, Cal. By coincidence I drove north on Fleming Road from Bull Valley Road and was shocked (and pleased) to see all the signs decrying this road’s “expansion.” Residents apparently fear widening and loss of trees, not just re-paving.

    The only problem for them is that there are fewer property owners because of larger property sizes. Can they succeed against “progress”?

    Let’s hope so. Fleming is a road through a rural setting. Certainly, it’s a short-cut. The County should just re-pave it and otherwise leave it as it is. Leave the trees. Keep the speed limit down.

  3. I’m a resident along the proposed construction. I will be at the meeting this afternoon. For those reading this there’s more of a concern to this than just widening the roadway.
    The estimates I’ve heard ( and I’ll be interested in getting this confirmed) the county plans on using Public Domain to “take” 30″-50″ of easment property for the widening. In our case it equates to anywhere from .31 to .51 acres on the frontage. Trees and landscaping will be destroyed. No compensation.
    My biggest concern has to do with the next phase of this. This project is written for just Fleming Rd. I think most of us that live here have the fear this is just the first phase. It’s not a big leap to extend Fleming beyond County Club Rd. A new road making a by-pass around Woodstock and Rt. 47 with the possibility of meeting with Alden Rd.?. Why would this road with existing traffic need to be flattened and widened unless additonal traffic were anticipated?
    I doubt we’re going to get the full story at this meeting but I can see stoplights at Rt. 120, Bull Valley Rd. and Country Club Rd. Like I stated, not a big leap for the next phase.

  4. What we thought was going to be a meeting yesterday, in fact, turned out to be a open house. Several charts and diagrams were presented in the room with County Road personel available for questions as we walked through. My gut feel was this had two purposes. The first was a PR move. Give the appearance of asking the residents their opinoins and concerns. The second was to guage how active the residents were going to be in their opposition.
    Attendence was remarkable in my opinion. In addition to most of the residents along Fleming Rd. there were several concerned people from the area. Hopefully, this gave the County the feeling this wasn’t going to be an easy fight.
    In talking with one of the residents they said the County knew they were going to have problems with this development. The MCDOT already has a back-up plan if there’s too much resistance.
    There’s a more formal meeting scheduled for this summer, after that one last meeting with people located on Fleming Rd. later this year.

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