Roundabout Scheduled for Route 176 Intersection with Mt. Tabor and Haligus Roads

The first state highway roundabout in McHenry County is being planned by the Illinois Department of Transportation where Mt. Tabor Road and Haligus Road join Route 176 in a dangerous, dangerous dogleg intersection.

What the roundabout on Route 14 at Mt. Tabor and Haligus Roads will look like. Click to enlarge.

Unlike the improvement at less badly aligned intersection of Briarwood Road and Route 176, wholly in Crystal Lake and initiated by Crystal Lake, the improvement farther west on the state route has been initiated by IDOT, apparently without local knowledge.

The entire highway improvement roundabout at Route 176 and Haligus and Mt. Tabor Roads can be seen here. Click to enlarge.

At least I would assume that Crystal Lake had no knowledge because when I filed a Freedom of Information request for “documents pertaining to efforts to improve the intersection of Mt. Thabor Road, Haligus Road and Route 176,” I received a response indicated that no such documents had been found.

Driving west on Route 176 toward the dogleg intersection of Halligus and Mt. Thabor Roads.

Likewise the Village of Lakewood had no knowledge until the most recent IDOT highway plan was released.


Roundabout Scheduled for Route 176 Intersection with Mt. Tabor and Haligus Roads — 28 Comments

  1. Why not save money and just properly align the intersection?

    These idiotic ’roundabouts’ are just as dangerous and confusing — especially with todays ever distracted drivers.

  2. When a bad idea pops up, look to the Left- the roundabout craze is part of the “green movement”.

  3. Shawn, roundabouts aren’t a “craze”, they’ve been around since the mid 20th Century.

    I always thought they were nice for one reason: they keep traffic moving.

  4. Agree with Shawn Green.

    Anything I’ve ever read about roundabouts has indicated they create safety issues.

  5. The few that i have driven through are fine when there is not much traffic, but throw in a few cars into the equation and it seems like people don’t know what to do! Definitely a safety concern, but safety is not an issue; red light camera’s…enough said.

  6. Another goofy idea from IDOT.

    I’ve used these in Wisconsin a couple of times and they do a fine job of slowing traffic down.

    Of course traffic does not move very well on any of the neglected roads in the county anyway.

  7. There is one in Des Plaines on Golf Road heading east and it is confusing and dangerous.

    Every time I drive through it I hold my breath and pray that I will get around it safely.

    It leads out into several other streets and when traffic converges at the same time people don’t always let others move around it as they are either too rude to take a turn or they don’t get the concept of letting the ones who arrive first and on their right go before they do.

    I cannot imagine a roundabout at Haligus and 176.

    A light would be better.

    When I return home to Huntley from MCC I mentally cross my fingers that I can make a left turn onto Haligus without getting rear ended from someone speeding behind me on 176.

    The turn is narrow and hard to navigate.

  8. Thank you Cal for posting this article.

    The roundabout has people in the area concerned and they have expressed their concerns to me.

  9. They have been around for a long time, but it’s becoming a craze recently as part of the environmentalist agenda.

    They work fine in the less-traveled areas, but are much more dangerous than traffic lights at busier intersections- not to mentioned the havoc it creates for emergency vehicles responding to calls.

  10. I have to disagree on this one, I’ve driven through roundabouts for the last 30 years on the East Coast, every country in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Austrailai.

    They don’t create havoc for emergency vehicles, they aren’t part of any leftist or green agenda.

    They keep traffic flowing, slow it down where it needs to be slowed down, and prevents accidents.

    I don’t argue that change is hard, and they will be intimidating for some drivers that have never seen one in their life, but they are safe, require less maintenance than traffic lights or stop signs.

  11. P.S. They are also building them at Rt 20 and Harmony Rd, as well as the intersection on Rt 20 and Marengo Rd near Donnelleys Wild West Museum

  12. “Environmentalist agenda”?!?!?

    Just because you may not have left McHenry County in your life to see them in other parts of the world, doesn’t mean the road design is part of some “environmentalist agenda”.

    Perhaps the road engineers know something about traffic patterns that you don’t, just like you Mr Green, who know a thing or two about law enforcement.

    I expect better from county board candidates than thoughts of hidden/secret factional agendas, though I suppose one could say that Conservatives have their own secret agendas as well.

  13. MBlue- Do you drive an emergency vehicle for a living?

    I do.

    And yes, the motivation for roundabouts becoming more common in recent years in the United States has absolutely been an environmental one.

    Do your research.

    Look, if a community wants a roundabout instead of a traffic signal, fine.

    I certainly don’t want them on Route 20 in my community because traffic signals would be much, much safer at both proposed locations, but if the majority of my fellow Coral Township residents and business owners disagreed with me I’d accept it.

    What frosts me is the fact that IDOT is shoving this down our throats without any input from those it will effect most.

    Reminiscent of the Fleming Road saga, isn’t it?

    This one is even worse, because they aren’t even consulting with local elected bodies.

  14. Shawn, I do not drive an emergency vehicle, but find it hard to believe that if this was true, there wouldn’t have been some outrage over the thousands of roundabouts in the world.

    As for environmental agenda, they have had roundabouts for over 100 years, and I have not read any legitimate (i.e. non-right wing conspiracy theorist blog) tying them to environmental agendas.

    I would be interested to learn why you think they are a hazard for emergency vehicles. “modern roundabouts” as they are calling this one, have a longer approach and are at least 2 lanes providing ample room.

    To be fair, I was skeptical of these at first, but was convinced that they are “sound design” after seeing the IDOT plans and discussing them with the IDOT engineer in charge.

    I would be more than happy to share his name and number with you, email me at if you would like the info.

    Last but not least, I apologize if I come across as confrontational, not my intention at all.

    I just remember how much I hated, if not feared, roundabouts when I first encountered them in the mid 80’s.

    After getting used to them, I find myself missing them and for years have wished they would make a comeback here in the midwest!

  15. Go out to the eastern states.

    Loaded with them and they cause a LOT OF PROBLEMS>

  16. M- Thanks for posting your email. I’ll bounce a few things off you soon regarding my concerns for emergency response- interested to hear your take.

    Joe- I appreciate some of the kind comments you made about me in this forum during the primary campaign, so I hope this clarifies my position and you don’t go away thinking I’m some brutish whack-job.

    I don’t believe there’s a conspiracy theory.

    The fact is, the newfound interest in roundabouts in the U.S. always seems to be focused on the environmental benefits rather than safety benefits; a red light at 20 and Harmony Road, for example, would be A LOT safer than a roundabout.

    Also, I think your comment about the “right wing blogs” may be quite off base.

    When you do a Google search using the terms “roundabout” and “green movement”, the vast majority of results are for left-wing environmentalist blogs extolling the “green” virtues of roundabouts.

    If someone has empirical data showing roundabouts to be safer than traffic signals at busy intersections, please share- I haven’t seen it.

    Again, my real beef here is with unelected IDOT officials shoving this down our throats without input from the community or our elected officials.

    But yes, unless I’m shown otherwise, I believe the motivation for increased use of roundabouts is idealogically driven.

    Now, on a lighter note:

  17. I think the insurance institute for highway safety sums it up spretty well:

    “Traffic congestion and motor vehicle crashes are widespread problems, especially in urban areas.

    Roundabouts, used in place of stop signs and traffic signals, are a type of circular intersection that can significantly improve traffic flow and safety.

    Where roundabouts have been installed, motor vehicle crashes have declined by about 40 percent, and those involving injuries have been reduced by about 80 percent.

    Crash reductions are accompanied by significant improvements in traffic flow, thus reducing vehicle delays, fuel consumption, and air pollution.”

    Shawn, I look forward to hearing from you.

  18. Seems to me a lot of people are lousy drivers on straight roads.

    Roundabouts were an answer when space was tight in built up communities.

    Having true awareness of how many drivers HATE these things should be enough to discourage building them anywhere let alone in an open area.

    In other words, this is not Boston and we do not need an adrenaline thrill ride to conquer with our vehicles and egos.

    Maybe we should worry less about constant traffic flow and more about what makes sense to keep more accidents from happening.

  19. Thanks for posting the IIHS link.

    Unfortunately, their stats are similar to ones I’ve seen elsewhere in that there’s no distinction between intersections controlled by stop signs versus those controlled by traffic lights.

    The IIHS studies state roundabouts reduce injury crashes by up to 75% when the intersection is converted from being controlled by a STOP SIGN or traffic signal.

    Could it be a case of “torture the data and it will confess to anything”?

    Of course ROUTE 20 and Harmony Rd. would be safer with a roundabout than the current two-way stop, but I still haven’t seen evidence that indicates a roundabout would be safer than a traffic light.

    I did note that even IIHS mentions the environmental aspect of it by the way! (Sorry Joe Hackett- I couldn’t resist)

    I’ll send you an email in the next day or two.

    Thanks again for posting the link- I would really like to be proven wrong on this, because I think they’re coming whether we like it or not!

  20. I hate the roundabout in Des Plaines.

    If you want to see it, just travel southeast from Crystal Lake on Northwest Highway/Route 14 to Des Plaines.

    It’s where Golf, Wolf, and Broadway intersect.

    The roads in that area are much more more convoluted than the above area.

    Golf and Wolf merge between the circle south to a location just south of the Northwest Highway.

    Downtown Des Plaines has several streets on an angle.

    Some of the interchanges at I-294 & I-90 are not full interchanges.

    Just a very confusing area.

  21. I still haven’t figured out how a roundabout is “environmentalist”.

    What exactly are the environmental postitives? Whatever they are, they’re minimal and not worth persuing exclusively.

    I think Shawn is trying to tie this into a left wing agenda narrative.

    I’ve used them many times and found them to keep things moving, while at the same time keeping speeding in check.

    I’m not approaching this from any other perspective.

    And I have to second Joe Hackett on his comment: If you’ve left Northern Illinois, you’d see these are everywhere, not some new plot.

  22. John- the environmental motivation is crystal clear; just look at what environmentalists and even what IDOT and IIHS have to say about it.

    Again, I’m fine with that if it’s what the community wants.

    What I’m not fine with is unelected bureaucrats forcing something on us without our input.

  23. No problem, Shawn – we’re good.

    While I have not done research on these roundabouts, I have encountered them many times domestically and abroad.

    I think these things have a very functional use in certain situations, just not all.

    This Mt Tabor intersection has had it’s unfair share of fatalities and something needed to be done.

    Heck, I applaud IDOT for *NOT* shoving a traffic light in the middle of nowhere.

    In fact, I wonder if the roundabout is a lower cost alternative to the traffic light.

    As to IDOT’s non-input decisions, that’s one of the reasons Route 53 never went into Lake County after it opened about 35 years ago: the poor Long Grove-ites didn’t want it.

    Yet, that part of Lake County hates the Route 12 Crawl. (yes, money was part of that equation too)

    Roundabouts have gotten a bad rep because Americans aren’t used to them.

    They also force people to set aside their cell phones, dogs, radios, food/beverage, cosmetics and shavers, and actually pay attention to the road being driven.

  24. BTW, now if you want talk about screwy road configurations proposed by IDOT, read the stories on the FEN about the proposition for the Randall/Algonquin intersection mess.

    Villages are fighting that untested lane configuration and I’m surprised First Responders haven’t added their two cents on that joke.

  25. My initial reaction is against a roundabout.

    What government official/agency do we contact about this?

    Anyone that’s not obvious like our state senator & state representative?

  26. I would suggest contacting the legislators in question. They are Jack Franks and Pam Althoff.

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