County Scores $20 Million More from Feds for Further Widening of Randall Road, That Makes $40 Million for $59 Million Project

From the McHenry County Transportation Department:

Randall Road Project Receives $20 Million Federal Grant

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – McHenry County has secured an additional $20 million in federal funding for the second phase of the Randall Road improvement project.

Federal funding, more specifically the Surface Transportation Program funds from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning will assist improvements on Randall Road from Ackman Road, in Crystal Lake, to Polaris Drive/Acorn Lane, in Lake in the Hills.

Federal funding received for the project at the time of this writing total $37.9 million.

Work completed two years ago on the first phase of the Randall Road project, which added lanes, upgraded flow at the intersection of Randall and Algonquin roads, added two new signalized intersections and added pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, including a pedestrian underpass and paved walkways.

More construction coming on Randall Road.

Construction for the second phase is scheduled to begin in 2024. Randall Road Northern Segment Project is more than road widening with plans to construct multi-use paths, transit improvements, as well as sidewalk accommodations along with ADA improvements.

You can learn more about the project ahere, and you can follow the Division of Transportation on Facebook here and you can follow the Division of Transportation on Facebook here to stay abreast of construction projects on county highways.

The total cost for the Randall Road Northern Segment project is estimated to be $59 million, more specifically $59,044,839.00.

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County Scores $20 Million More from Feds for Further Widening of Randall Road, That Makes $40 Million for $59 Million Project — 10 Comments

  1. Ugh. Randall is an abomination.

    Without being a NeverBidener, I laughed when he invoked Randall Rd. during his last MCC visit.

    That is an entity that has been so ill-managed by every municipality that touches it, the only viable option may just be to let the earth reclaim it.

    Everyone was so eager to claim their stake and build up tax revenue producing commerce on this “artery” that they hobbled it and turned it into a parking lot.

  2. LOL Poop. Stoplights every 1/4 mile really improve the climate. IL voters are idiots. When’s the next drag queen bakery opening down in that liberal hell hole?

  3. Oh goodie a bigger parking lot to be made what a waste of out tax dollars!

  4. Graft and kickbacks. But these huge
    ‘Overruns’ are ‘OK’ because the
    County elites profit big time

  5. Randall Rd thru Batavia and Geneva is a well-done, vibrant economic zone that generates many benefits for the Tri-City corridor (which includes St. Charles).

    Folks come here to shop and get medical, optometric, dental & spine care, from throughout Kane County. Even some folks from DeKalb County.

    Here there is to be found pretty much any goods or services one might need.

    Traffic patterns are well-organized, due to the thoughtful planning that went into designing development on both sides of Randall Rd.

    One doesn’t need to go elsewhere for anything, really, except for state government offices in Elgin and Aurora.

    This commercial zone is pretty calm and relatively peaceful, because of its orderly design, and because the people are pleasant, well-mannered and tend to be fairly well-educated.

    I can get a nice coffee at Smarty Pants Cafe, a science-themed coffee shop down the street from me, at 817 N. Randall Rd. in Batavia. Physicists are welcomed and appreciated, there.

    The medical campus of [Northwestern Medicine] Delnor Hospital is fairly placid, and its streets & entryways are designed such as not to interfere with the traffic on Randall Rd.

    Folks do not drive like idiots around here. Unlike in McHenry County along Rt. 14, Rt. 31 and Randall Rd., young men do not suffer from the malady of lack of respect for others that inspires them to gun their engines and leave strips of rubber veneer on the road beneath them, as a way of socially asserting themselves and registering their impatience and disdain for speed limits.

    Randall Rd. is wide enough, here, and carefully designed, to allow Pace Bus drivers room to pull to the side to pick up & drop off riders, without interfering with traffic flows.

    The only thing that I can think of that would be nice, is a Union Pacific West Line Metra strain station off Randall Rd.

    In theory, if I had all day to travel, I could conceivably catch a Pace Bus originating at the Aurora BNSF Metra station, from a stop here on Randall Rd. in Batavia or across Fabyan Pkwy. in Geneva, take it to the Kane County Government Center; then change to another to the Elgin Transportation Center; then a third up to the Crystal Lake Metra station.

    Although, in practice, this is not very practical, as one would likely need to make the return trip the following day, making it difficult to be an active McHenry Countian in exilio (or vice-versa, if one wanted to shop down here).

    It would probably not be possible to start out here and get to the McHenry County Administration Bldg to attend any meetings, via public transit, without having to lodge overnight for a few days in Crystal Lake.

    The Pace buses do not run on Sunday, though, so I would not be able to take a bus to church in Crystal Lake, from here, which would require arranging for an Uber car or taxi.

    With a car, it would be doable, although one would have to leave pretty early in the morning, to make it on time to a McHenry County Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, or other County Board committee hearing. It would probably be quicker, though, to take Rt. 47 north, rather than Randall Rd.

    Thus, it is difficult to be a displaced McHenry Countian.

    Anways, if McHenry County planners are interested in the smooth development of Randall Rd., they might have a look at the Batavia-Geneva commercial corrider.

    The Algonquin corrider is not too bad, although it could stand significant improvement for walkability and bicycling and ADA accessibility.

    What it lacks, is charm.

    Here, the landscaping is pleasant. The old windmills, and the recurrent Batavia Windmill theme throughout the commercial districts, coupled with the preserved and sculpted wetlands, is a pleasing and attractive touch.

    One can go for nice walks around here, and enjoy birds and wetland pond life.

    A pair of rare Whooping Cranes landed outside my sliding glass door, in the greenspace, two weeks ago.

    That sight was quite a rare treat, indeed.

  6. Of the two whooping cranes I onserved that alighted in the greenspace outside my sliding glass doors, I did not manage to take any photos. Once I caught sight of them, I froze, still in place, and did not move so that I would not startle them. Knowing this was an extremely rare opportunity to observe these huge, impressive, critically-endangered birds, I just watched.

    After they had wandered away a bit, I carefully and quietly went to fetch a spotting scope and a camera. However, when I returned, they were gone.

    I can attest that they are, indeed, a sight to behold.

    It was only in the following days that the Kane County Forest Preserve district broadcast a press release indicating that two adult whooping cranes and a colt were spotted at Muirhead Springs Nature Preserve in Hampshire, November 9-10.

    It was announced via Kane County Connects and the Kane County Chronicle, then was picked up by WTTW of Chicago.

    A photo of the three rare birds appears in the Kane County Chronicle.

    Whereas, perhaps to be protective of the young bird, Kane County Connects truncated the full photo, showing just the two adults.

    I did not see a third young bird, and so cannot confirm definitively that I saw the same two adults.

    It is possible the youngster was around, but that I just did not see it in my field of view.

    I did not want to open the door and step out to get a better look and look around, because this would have startled them.

    Below are the links to articles.

    According to one, three whooping cranes were spotted last spring here in Batavia at Nelson Lake Marsh within Dick Young Forest Preserve, which is a wee little to the south of me.

    Dick Young Forest Preserve and its Nelson Lake Marsh are quite a nice attraction, I am certain, from a flying rare big bird’s perspective, so I am not surprised, because it is a gem.

    That knowledge comforted me that I probably hadn’t hallucinated, or perhaps had misidentified a pair of sandhill cranes, because those that I saw may have been the same ones here last spring. Or, perhaps their relatives.

    Anyways, it seems that both Batavia and Hampshire sites of the Kane County Forest Preserve District are on the radar of migratory birds, so connect the dots of the sightings and draw the likely trajectory through McHenry County: probably over or through Coral Township, I would think, perhaps beginning descent over Harmony.

    Use this Kane County Forest Preserve District interactive mapping tool, to contemplate the possibilities:

    https://kaneforest.com/locations

    It depends whether they are hewing generally to the marshes & other wetlands in the vicinity of the Fox River and Chain-O’-Lakes, or the general line of quarries & gravel pits, or other potential lines of preference, like a favored creek line. Or maybe over Geneva Lake and Williams Bay.

    Conceivably, Lakewood might be possible, although it may be too populated and developed to attract them. Pleasant Valley Conservation Area might look welcoming to them, though.

    One could check with the Audubon Society and other birding clubs, and use their migratory bird sighting tracking tools to see if any sightings occurred on the Wisconsin side of the state line, or elsewhere in Illinois.

    I am not a knowledgeable, experienced, widely-traveled birder, so I am not personally familiar with their migratory habits or destinations, and at what altitude they tend to fly. I would have to research this topic, until I felt well-informed.

    They seemed to alight in the center of the lower-grass greenspace, at first, and then looked around, and then gradually wandered toward the taller marsh grasses at the margin.

    The shorter, younger bird *could* have been with them, nearby somewhere, but was just more camouflaged by its brown, mottled feathers, and hidden a bit by the uneven terrain, and the differences in our respective elevations.

    Someone in McHenry County more knowledgeable than I, might wish to study this, and alert the McHenry County Conservation District and the Nature Conservancy and other McHenry County environmentalist & ornithologist to prepare to be hospitable and protective of them, since they are so extremely rare.

    I, personally, would like to know how they find their way around, and if, while piloting, they use geomagnetic and/or geoelectric field clues.

    They were certainly stunning, and eye-catching in profile, walking on their tall, stick-like legs.

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    https://www.shawlocal.com/kane-county-chronicle/2023/11/20/endangered-whooping-cranes-make-brief-stop-in-kane-forest-preserve/

    https://kanecountyconnects.com/article/KaneCountyForestPreserve-WhoopingCranes-KaneCountyGovernment

    https://news.wttw.com/2023/11/15/they-re-whooping-it-kane-county-over-sighting-endangered-whooping-cranes

    https://patch.com/illinois/algonquin/amp/31601547/extremely-rare-whooping-cranes-touch-down-in-kane-county

    ^^^^^^^^^^

    https://kaneforest.com/location/muirhead-springs

    https://kaneforest.com/location/dick-young

  7. Addendum to Whooping Cranes:

    I have done some preliminary digging.

    I will contact the following organization, and report my sighting directly to them, as I do not see this area indicated on their map of sightings.

    (Which I did not do earlier, because I wanted to protect the Whooping Cranes that I saw, and not draw hordes of birdwatchers or even hunters here, which might inadvertently cause harm to them, or even their demise.)

    The following Wikipedia article titled “Whooping Cranes” appears to have good information, so I followed up:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whooping_crane

    It seems there was a project initiated by a man in Baraboo, Wisconsin to try to jump-start a recovery effort, many years ago.

    Today, the headquarters of the International Crane Foundation is in Baraboo, as a result:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Crane_Foundation

    So I then went to the website of the

    International Crane Foundation

    https://savingcranes.org/

    ^^^^^^^^^^^

    Below, from that website, but without the map graphic of reported sightings, is the text of the posted

    WHOOPING CRANE EASTERN POPULATION UPDATE – NOVEMBER 2023

    https://savingcranes.org/2023/11/whooping-crane-eastern-population-update-november-2023/

    Below is the most recent update for the Eastern Migratory Population of Whooping Cranes. The rest of the captive-reared birds were released in October, and migration began! A huge thank you to the staff of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Departments of Natural Resources of flyway states, the International Crane Foundation, and all the volunteers who help us keep track of the cranes throughout the year. We appreciate your contribution to the recovery of the Whooping Crane Eastern Migratory Population. The International Crane Foundation produced this report.

    Population Estimate

    The current estimated population size is 78 (42 F, 34 M, 2 U). Seventeen of these 78 individuals are wild-hatched, and the rest are captive-reared. To the best of our knowledge, as of 1 November, there are approximately 41-48 in Wisconsin, one in Michigan, eight to nine in Illinois, and 10 to 16 in Indiana. The remaining birds’ locations have not been confirmed in the last month. Their last known locations (in the past month) are on the map below. As we are at the height of migration, bird locations change quickly, and more may have moved further south.

    Whooping Crane Locations 1 November 2023
    Click here to view our interactive “Where are the Whoopers” map for more details, including bios on each crane.

    2021 and 2022 Cohorts

    W2-21 (M) moved to Adams County, Wisconsin, with W3-17.

    W14-21 (M) was last seen at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge with W3-20 (F) in October.

    84-21 (F) was last seen in Juneau County.

    85-21 (M) went to Juneau County and was last seen in Adams County with other Whooping Cranes.

    W1-22 (U) is still in Adams County with other Whooping Cranes.

    2023 Cohort

    W9-23 (F) is still in Juneau County with 15-11, W6- 18, and 15-23.

    W12-23 (M) is still with parents 24-08 and 13-02 in Juneau County.

    W13-23 (U) is still with parents 12-11 and 5-11. They left Juneau County and were seen in Lawrence County, IL, but have likely continued to their unknown wintering location.

    15-23 (F) was parent-reared at the International Crane Foundation this summer and was released at Necedah in late September. She has been associating with W9-23, 15-11, and W6-18.

    21-23 (M) and 22-23 (F) were parent-reared at the Calgary Zoo this summer and were released at Necedah in early October. They have been associating with 2-04 and W14-19. By the end of the month, 21-23 was seen with another pair, 6-17 and 16-04 at Necedah. We hope they will migrate south soon!

    16-23 (F), 17-23 (F), 18-23 (F), 19-23 (M), 20-23 (F), and 23-23 (M) were costume-reared at International Crane Foundation this summer and were released at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge in Dodge County during October. At least one of these birds, but likely all six, have migrated and are now in Indiana.

    Mortality and Long-term Missing

    80-19 (F) has not been seen for over a year and is now considered long-term missing. We have removed her from the population totals above.

    Thompson
    Story submitted by Hillary Thompson, North America Program Crane Analyst. Click here to learn more about our work in North America.

    Published November 8, 2023
    By Sara
    Categorized as News, North America, Whooping Crane

  8. The time is now 11 pm Thanksgiving Day night.

    I’m really getting into the Eastern Whooping Crane flock migrations between their [introduced] summer nesting territory in Wisconsin around Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, which is located northwest of Baraboo, and their [introduced] winter destination around the Florida Gulf Coast (although some seem to not make it that far, and so winter over in southern Indiana and Kentucky, into the Appalachians & Ozarks).

    What is fascinating, is that in order to help the Whooping Crane population recover, each autumn, a fresh, small contingent of young chicks are being TRAINED to follow this migratory route, via following a HUMAN-OPERATED ULTRALITE AIRCAFT so that they learn to make the trip on their own.

    By examining a map of reported sightings, it is possible that the training flight path is passing through Northern Illinois somewhere within a swath over Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, Kane, LaSalle, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee Counties, entering into Indiana.

    The line of the flight path could perhaps pass near Belvidere: there is a suggestion of a path around a line generally drawn through Janesville and a point midway between Aurora & DeKalb.

    It is possible that the pilot keeps I-90 in his sights, much of the way.

    However, the distribution of sightings is broad, on either side of that general trajectory, so perhaps the flight path is varied, slightly, year-to-year, to spread birds out a bit, to increase chances of survival (just speculating here).

    There does seem to be a suggestion of evidence of reports of some sightings in McHenry County. (Although I have to look into this, yet.)

    It depends which database of sightings one examines, and which tool one uses to map them.

    So it is very possible that Whooping Cranes could be affected by development along Randall Rd between Crystal Lake and Elgin, and along Rt. 47.

    It seems that three major causes of Whooping Crane deaths, outside of nesting disasters (predators, etc.) are attributable to wind turbines, electric transmission lines, and young hunters (who may not realize what kind of bird they have shot, and how rare it is, and the federal penalties for killing a critically-endangered Whooping Crane).

    It apparently is necessary and desirable to consult with the U.S. Department of the Interior Fish & Wildlife Service, and possibly the Illinois Department of Conservation, if developments (like Randall Rd.) may impact these birds.

    These are truly beautiful birds, and great expense and effort is being expended in order to breed, reintroduce and restore them (over $100,000 per bird), and they are easily injured or killed if not protected, so it would behoove the Randall Rd. improvement & expansion to consult with and work with all appropriate authorities, and the International Crane Foundation and its allied conservation organizations, to preserve and install suitable marshlands and other wetlands, and greenspaces, all along Randall Rd. (and also along Rt. 47), far enough away from electric power lines and high-tension transmission lines & towers, and any wind turbines, such that the birds can launch and land without hitting power lines or road traffic.

    A thoughtful approach to this would make a huge difference in the flock population & survival/comeback chances, but also for other migratory shorebirds & wetland birds, too, like herons, egrets, pelicans, storks (if there are any around here), ducks, geese, etc.

    There are a number of interesting websites to review.

    For those persons into politics, this matter of Whooping Crane preservation is certainly is a hot wildlife conservation issue.

    So it would be best to read up on this, and be on the right side (meaning, the ethical side: the birds’ side) of the issue, locally.

    Which apparently is *not* the side of Donald Trump and at least some of his supporters, because apparently his administration rolled back some of the protections of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, probably to please certain game hunter & sportsman interest groups, the NRA, land developers, etc.

    https://www.audubon.org/news/rollback-migratory-bird-protections-delayed-new-administration

    Cue Ryan Zinke:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Zinke

    The Biden Administration has attempted to “rollback the rollback” by apparently staving off implementation of some Trump-era changes, while an updated Migratory Bird Treaty Act (2023) has worked its way through Congress.

    What the exact current verbiage is pertaining to Whooping Cranes is, I’m not certain, because today I see to be having difficulty accessing the website of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, so I will have to check back after the holiday weekend, I suppose.

    Some informative links:

    https://www.fws.gov/species/whooping-crane-grus-americana

    https://journeynorth.org/tm/crane/FlockEast.html

    https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/journeynorth.org/images/graphics/crane/PopulationEFlock.jpg

    https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nacwgproc/386/

    https://journeynorth.org/tm/crane/MigrationDay_BJohns.html

    https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Whooping_Crane/overview

    https://cranetrust.org/file_download/486fc386-9a15-4485-bcd1-11d4a8ec06fa&ved=2ahUKEwierbr26duCAxWfvokEHbCcCZUQFnoECCYQAQ&usg=AOvVaw0E77CWQAjFAIJH4-OUEy38

    https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/whocra/cur/introduction

    https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/whooping-crane

    https://explorer.audubon.org/explore/species/1389/whooping-crane/migration?sidebar=collapse&layersPanel=collapse

    https://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/birds/whooping-crane/information/

    https://journeynorth.org/tm/AltitudeComparisons.html

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Crane_Foundation

    https://news.wttw.com/2015/09/29/george-archibald-his-work-saving-cranes-extinction

    https://www.treehugger.com/man-courts-whooping-crane-save-its-species-extinction-george-archibald-tex-4856241

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Archibald

    https://savingcranes.org/learn/species-field-guide/whooping-crane/

    A link on that last page points to a Zoom Webinar on November 30th, on the topic of these Eastern Whooping Cranes and their migrations:

    https://savingcranes.zoom.us/webinar/register/6216968827300/WN_1BymdD97S4uv5cmkxdmImA#/registration

    I think I will tune in, if possible. 🙂

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