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Randall Road project concerns addressed by county officials

Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 2:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 11, 2014 9:00 a.m. CDT

McHenry County Division of Transportation officials are responding to some recent concerns that have been brought up about the continuous flow intersection proposal for Randall and Algonquin roads.

In a packet sent to County Board members this week, county transportation officials addressed concerns about access to the former Dominick's property in Lake in the Hills, as well as the next steps in the design process for the Randall Road improvements from County Line Road to Ackman Road.

There is a response to a letter from Richard Robey, senior vice president of Edgemark Asset Management, which is managing the former Dominick's property at the intersection. Robey objected to the intersection proposal because a prospective tenant for the property had backed out citing the CFI.

"While moving traffic is important to the county, maintaining access for the adjacent businesses is of equal importance," County Engineer Joseph Korpalski wrote to Robey.

Korpalski went on to write that consulting firm TranSystems, which is conducting the second phase of engineering for county and will draw up the construction plans, is reviewing past traffic projections and evaluating the best intersection design.

He reiterated the exact intersection improvement has not been finalized. 

Korpalski added that any intersection improvement would require changes to business access in response to Robey's concern about shopping access.

Under a conventional intersection proposal, there would still be similar changes to access points as there would be under the CFI plan.

Access points at the northeast portion of the intersection under both plans would require full access points or partial access be converted into right-in right-outs.

The only difference is a right-in/ right out near to the Steak and Shake, would be changed to a right-out only under the CFI.

To access the businesses on the northeast portion of the intersection, the CFI plan would require people going north on Randall Road to enter through a right in/right out just north of the former Applebees. Those going east on Algonquin Road would be able to enter along Crystal Lake Road.

Korpalski wrote it is not the county's intention to prevent or reduce motorists ability from entering the roadway for half-a-mile in any direction from the intersection.

"The overall access plan and interconnectivity between adjacent retail properties is to provide flexibility for the motorists so that the majority of existing travel patterns can be maintained," Korpalski wrote. "Whether a CFI, traditional intersection or other concept are ultimately constructed, it will be necessary to manage access along the corridor to find the necessary balance between traffic operation, safety and access to all adjacent properties."

In a separate memo, County Design Manager Walter Dittrich pointed out that El Fuego Tacos and Burritos opened on Feb. 19 along Randall Road near the intersection after learning about the planned improvements.

"It's heartening to see a business open in this corridor after understanding the future of the Randall Road Project," Dittrich wrote.

Nino Hermes, who co-owns El Fuego with his three brothers, said he heard so many rumors about the road project, which is still years away. He doesn't know how the improvements will affect the business, such as whether he'll have to add delivery.

"My whole thing was if I run a business according to what might happen in a couple of years, no one will take any chances," Hermes said. "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I try to stay positive about it."

In a draft letter that will be sent out to project stakeholders, the county said there will be a re-evaluation of intersection configurations using updated socioeconomic data.

The county plans to look at right-of-way needs and associated costs, economic impact of the various alternatives, potential driveway modifications, ways people access businesses throughout the corridor, future maintenance costs, and actual construction costs for each alternative.

"Once this analysis is complete, stakeholders will be able to compare the alternatives side by side to make an informed decision on which intersection design best meets the needs of the county and its residents," the letter reads.

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