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Open houses to address road reconstruction

ALDEN – A contentious road project in northern McHenry County will get public input at two open houses this week.

An updated Alden Road reconstruction plan will be available to the public at open houses Tuesday and Thursday.

In preliminary stages, the McHenry County Division of Transportation aims to reconstruct a 7-mile stretch of the rural roadway from Charles Road to State Line Road. The project carries a $20 million to $25 million price tag, excluding any engineering and land acquisition costs.

“The pavement out there has failed, and we’re in need of reconstructing and rehabilitating that pavement; it’s beyond the end of its useful life,” McDOT design manager Wally Dittrich said.

The first hearing will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Conference Room A at 667 Ware Road, Woodstock. McHenry County Division of Transportation representatives and consultants will be available to answer questions from the public, and a brief Power Point presentation will run continuously throughout the evening.

A second hearing will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the McDOT offices, 16111 Nelson Road, Woodstock.

Residents along Alden Road were concerned about the impact of the original project, so McDOT reviewed plans and reduced some rights of way, Dittrich said.

The right of way extends 30 to 35 feet from the center line on either side of Alden Road, and McDOT initially sought to extend it to 60 feet on either side.

Dittrich said McDOT examined each of the 150 parcels along Alden Road, and in some locations, the right of way was extended the full 60 feet on either side, but on about 70 percent of the parcels, the right of way has been reduced.

McDOT initially sought to acquire 58 acres of land but now is looking at 47 acres.

Alan Plane of the Alden Road Alliance, a grass-roots effort and major opponent of the Alden Road expansion, said he and other Alliance members didn’t want to see the road expanded through their front yards.

“For homes like myself and my neighbors, it would clear cut plenty of trees,” Plane said. “I would have to move my well, and my driveway would be affected. There’s a lot at stake for everybody.”

The hearings will address topics such as the need for the project, the design under consideration, and right of way acquisition. Preliminary reports including an engineering analysis with drawings, maps and aerial photography will be available.

The Power Point presentation and exhibits also will be available on the project website at www.aldenroad.info.

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