Becky Gillam, Member of the Kane Co. Board and supporter of Longmeadow Parkway has used a Facebook post* to challenge the information presented by our group who oppose the project. We appreciate her comments because we believe an open discussion, wherein all sides of the story are examined, is in the public interest. We welcome the debate. We will briefly address her points here. For a more detailed response we encourage readers to read through our Position Papers at www.stoplongmeadow.com/position-papers.
KDOT is trying to convince the Kane County taxpayers that Longmeadow Parkway will significantly reduce traffic congestion on the existing Fox River Bridges. This contention is totally false, and the County’s own analysis proves it. It is an analysis the project’s proponents do not want to address.
But first, let us review a bit of history -
In the mid-1980’s IDOT recognized that growth west of the Fox River would create traffic issues. As is their job, IDOT began a process of planning a north-south spur on I-90. It was called the Fox Valley Freeway. The political forces of the day limited IDOT’s planning to a corridor that ran mostly up the east side of the river. In order to feed traffic to the new expressway new bridges across the Fox would be necessary.
Despite what Longmeadow Parkway proponents are saying, the project could become a significant new load for already overburdened taxpayers; and, it is a burden that will not be averted by bridge tolls.
KDOT has not published a financial plan for the project, so our citizens group has developed a plan that approximates what we believe the County will do. It indicates that State taxpayers (that includes Kane Co. residents) will bear $63 million of the cost, federal taxpayers will pick up $4 million, and the remaining amount, over the course of 30 years will be paid either by tolls from the bridge and possibly from tax revenue, depending on how the project is financed.
Summary – Longmeadow Parkway will greatly increase noise levels in the corridor. The noise levels within 150 ft. of the road will be equivalent to that of a DC-9 jet aircraft during take-off. KDOT is using a regulatory “trick” to avoid complying with current noise regulations. Investigation of the potential use of noise barriers show that they will be ineffective in reducing noise levels.
The Problem – The noise from the new highway will be an issue for residents all along the corridor, but it will be especially problematical for those near the Fox River. The preliminary engineering plans for the road show steep slopes as it approaches the river. The road slopes at a grade of 5% which is a steep hill.
$200+ million! The proponents of Longmeadow Parkway have seemed evasive when discussing the cost of the project. They talk about numbers around $100 million, but are never very specific. When we requested KDOT’s financial plan for the project we were told they did not have a plan.
Our curiosity aroused, we set out to tie down the best estimate of the true, total cost of Longmeadow Parkway. We found that the project will cost about double what the County has been saying. Our estimate and the sources of our information are shown in the following table. We show only the costs associated with building the project. Costs of maintaining the road, bridge and tolling facilities are not included.