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.