ALGONQUIN – Protesters held up signs saying the Longmeadow Parkway project is “not a done deal,” hoping people driving by would notice the statement.
“I’m opposed to this project because it’s in our backyard," Algonquin resident Lindsay Williams said. "I’m concerned for the safety of children in this neighborhood having a four-lane highway right behind us.”
About 60 people stood in below-freezing temperatures Saturday to protest the Longmeadow Parkway project. The protest was held at the intersection of Longmeadow Parkway and Barrett Drive in Algonquin.
Jack Bavaro, who lives near Longmeadow Parkway, organized the protest in order to get more people involved.
“The fact is supporters want it to go from a 30 mile per hour road to a 45 mile per hour road and allow 18-wheelers to come down through our neighborhood, and that’s not safe,” Bavaro said. "And people need to realize there's still time to make a change and end this project."
The project proposal includes building a four-lane, 5-mile toll road and a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing to try to reduce traffic congestion in northern Kane County. The proposed road passes through parts of Algonquin, Carpentersville, Barrington Hills and unincorporated areas of Kane County.
According to the Kane County Division of Transportation, total construction costs are estimated to be about $115 million, with about $14 million coming from federal sources, about $39 million from the state and about $61 million coming from Kane County.
Algonquin Village President John Schmitt supports the proposal. He has said the project will create less traffic on roads and allow for easier access to Algonquin’s corporate campus.
However, protesters who came out Saturday said turning the two-lane road into a four-lane toll road would create safety issues and have a negative effect on the environment.
Three Algonquin trustee candidates vying for seats on the Village Board in the April 4 election attended the protest, including Laura Brehmer, Greg Ligman and Janis Jasper.
“Our residents don’t want this. We're completely being ignored, so we have to stand up together and fight this,” Ligman said. “This is a family community where children are being raised and playing in their backyard, which is being taken away from them.”
Also in attendance was Trish Glees, who is running as an independent for Dundee Township supervisor.
“No one's looking at the diversion of Route 62,” Glees said. “All the small businesses there could lose that traffic if this project happens."
The Federal Highway Administration recently said the project will have no new significant effects on the environment, and it can move to the next step of development.
Currently in the construction phase, the project is estimated to be completed in late 2019.
More protests are planned to continue on future Saturday mornings at the same location.