When I first heard of about the Prairie Parkway, I figured it was being built for land speculators.
After all, there was little traffic from I-80 to I-90.
And beyond, according to one McHenry County Board District 2 candidate’s answer to a Northwest Herald questionnaire shortly after the new interstate idea was surfaced by U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Can’t imagine what someone had in mind for the open spaces in District 6?
Think of a four-lane highway running up from the Northwest Tollway to the Wisconsin Interstate north of Richmond.
We should all know by now that four-lane highways bring growth. That’s because people can get farther faster.
So, some folks in McHenry County were planning to replace western McHenry County corn and soy bean fields with fields of housing.
Fortunately, we in McHenry County dodged that bullet.
But the threat to western Kane County remained until this past week when the Federal Highway Administration turned thumbs down on a reduced Prairie Pathway that would have run from I-80 to I-88.
There still leaves the north-south traffic on Route 47
That’s the road I took to Springfield during the 1970’s, so I know it well.
As growth pushed westward, Route 47 got more and more crowded.
Now, the FHA proposes widening Route 47 from I-80 to I-88.
Shame the Feds didn’t decide to widen Route 47 all the way north to I-90 (Huntley), but I think the alternative makes sense.
When the billion dollar cost of the Prairie Parkway was announced, my immediate thought was that immense improvements could be made on Route 47 for that amount of money.
Let me add my congratulations to Jan Strasma, one of the spark plugs behind the Citizens Against the Sprawlway.
The Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch’s comprehensive article can be found here.
The web site of the folks who beat the Spralway is here.