Public Officials Gather for Algonquin’s Western Bypass Groundbreaking

A press release from Congressman Don Manzullo:

Manzullo, Durbin Hail Start of Algonquin Western Bypass Project

McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler is at the microphone praising Congressman Don Manzullo and Senator Dick Durbin for their roles in obtaining Federal money to help finance the Western Bypass of the intersection of Routes 31 and 62.  IDOT Secretary Ann Schneider stands between Koehler and Durbin.

[ALGONQUIN] U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said the strong resolve of local officials, business leaders and frustrated motorists led to today’s groundbreaking ceremony for the most awaited road construction project in McHenry County history – the $80 million Western Bypass in Algonquin.

Congressman Don Manzullo stands in front of the re-landscaped hill on the north side of Algonquin Road between the “S” curve and the Post Office.

On the books for decades, the project to solve gridlock at Routes 31 and 62 in downtown Algonquin broke ground today amid fanfare and the relief that the long-delayed project will finally be built.

Algonquin Village President John Schmitt is flanked by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on the left and Congressman Don Manzullo on the right. Schmitt’s political career started with his opposition to the Northern Bypass pushed by McHenry County’s Establishment. He lived near the designated Right-of-Way east of the Fox River then. Schmitt has since moved west of the river. If anyone needs an example of how a neighborhood uprising can change public policy, how this bypass ended up where it is would be perfect.

The project received two large infusions of federal funding over the years.

Golden shovel folks include, from left to right, State Senator Pam Althoff, Illinois Department of Transporation Secretary Ann Schneider, Congressman Don Manzullo, Algonquin Village President John Schmitt, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler and Joyce Dwyer.

Manzullo secured $9 million in the 1998 federal transportation bill, TEA-21, and Durbin and Manzullo worked together to secure $10 million in the 2005 federal transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU.

Manzullo thanked U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, State Senator Pam Althoff, State Rep. Mike Tryon, County Board Chairman Ken Koehler, Algonquin Mayor John Schmitt, the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation, and others for their determination to get the Western Bypass approved and funded.

Manzullo also thanked the “Road Warriors,” the conglomeration of local political, business and community groups that came together to lobby the State of Illinois for McHenry County’s fair share of road construction dollars in 2007 after Gov. Blagojevich stripped all the previously approved Western Bypass money from the state’s road construction plan.

“Finally! Due to a lot of hard work for many years by all the people here today, McHenry County motorists will soon experience relief from the horrific gridlock that has plagued the corner of Routes 31 and 62 in downtown Algonquin for decades,” Manzullo said.

“This project has long been my number one priority for McHenry County, and I’m excited to see it finally fulfilled. I only wish my good friend, the late Bill Dwyer who did so much to bring us to this day, could be with us to celebrate.”

Durbin added, “As the east-west gateway to McHenry County, the Route 31-Route 62 intersection has a well-deserved reputation as the most congested intersection in the region.

“It’s been that way for more than 20 years and the county’s population continues to grow.

“The Bypass will go a long way toward alleviating the traffic congestion that has restricted access to the businesses and shops in Algonquin’s Old Town District. As everyone gathered here today knows, this project has seen a lot of ups and downs over the years.

After the ceremony Congressman Don Manzullo chats with District 2 McHenry County Board member Donna Kurtz and Recorder of Deeds Phyllis Walters.

“I offer a special salute to Rep. Manzullo for his determination over the course of 15 years to make this project a reality.

“I was happy to help along the way and am excited to be here today as we kick off a project that has been talked about since 1952.”

The new bypass road will start at Route 31 south of Virginia Road in Crystal Lake, veer southwest into the gravel pit, cross over Algonquin Road near the Algonquin post office, veer southeast and connect back with Route 31 near Huntington Drive.

It will remove the majority of north-south traffic from the Route 31-Route 62 intersection, allowing officials to double-time the traffic signals at the intersection to significantly improve east-west traffic flow on Route 62 and eliminate the mile-long backups motorists face during rush hour.

= = = = =

Photos provided by Congressman Manzullo’s office.


Public Officials Gather for Algonquin’s Western Bypass Groundbreaking — 11 Comments

  1. Kudos to all who participated to make this monumental achievement come to pass.

    It is a graphic demonstration of how political compromise and vision for the future of our County can work together for the good of all citizens.

    I have observed the Algonquin Bypass effort for over thirty years.

    Everyone should be very proud of this project and those who dedicated so much to bring it about.

  2. How sickening to me.

    These political phonies have little to do with the Bypass or any other infrastructure improvement.

    There should be someone representing the overburdened property taxpayer who paid every dime for this (and the pensions of all the pictured politicians) who really should get the credit for the expenditures of this project.

  3. Actually, it’s not your property tax dollars paying for this. More likely your state and Federal gasoline tax dollars.

  4. Well, who paid for the GOLDEN shovels….

    The tax payers…..

    Cal get real… state gasoline funds????

    I’m sure Quinn broke his piggy bank for those pennies.

  5. Cal, Skeptic is right on target.

    Though perhaps true, the actual funding of new highway may come from Federal funding, Skeptic’s point was not the specific funding source.

    You are blurring his obviously lucid point.

    The taxpayer is overburdened by the very idiots taking credit for the Bypass.

    In fact, the people in the picture have unfairly taken obscene personal advantage of the taxpayers’ funding and have enriched themselves AS THEY ARE TAKING CREDIT for the fleecing of the same taxpayer.

    The picture actually depicts our financial problem perfectly.

    The idiot politicians are taking credit for something that has little, if anything, to do with them.

  6. Why do you find it so hard to believe that Motor Fuel Tax funds would pay for highway improvements?

  7. The following is a quote from the most recent IDOT press release on the topic:

    “The entire $71 million Algonquin Bypass project is funded primarily through Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now!capital program The project is anticipated to be complete and the new road opened by late Summer 2014.”

    Is the Illinois “Jobs Now” being funded with Motor fuel tax dollars?

  8. The BIGGEST problem with this intersection is the timing of the lights (route 31 & Harrison).

    Sometimes the lights are timed so well that 10 cars get through the intersection at a time.

    When the lights are timed well there are no issues.

    We are spending $80M to fix the timing of the lights here…what a joke!

  9. To Cal’s point, the gas tax is SUPPOSED to be used to fund or assist n funding these projects.

    To the other points, I concur that the gas fund probably has been emptied two or three times over, like every other bank account the state of Illinois has.

    I’m just wondering why, other than election year politics, people like Donna Kurtz and Phyllis Walters who had nothing to do with this project were there?

    When something of this nature occurs, it underscores that this may be more pork than necessary.

    I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

  10. I see no way this whole bypass is going to help the huge.

    Back-ups going east and west on 62.

    Waste of money.

    Build a bridge on 62 going over 31 that’s what I’d needed.

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