I-90 interchange at Irene Road gets support

Jul 17, 2012

The coordinating committee of five Belvidere city aldermen and five Boone County Board members has voted unanimously to pursue completion of the interchange at Irene Road and Interstate 90.

The Belvidere Daily Republican reported the committee approved $81,000 for preliminary engineering and $33,800 for a right-of-way consultant, with the city and county splitting that expense.

The next step would be to buy land to finish the remaining three on-off lanes of the $50 million project. An  Illinois Department of Transportation official told the committee the state would finish the interchange if the city and county provided the land.

Hanson Professional Services Inc. out of Rockford is doing the engineering work. Its regional vice president, Stuart M. Kemp, offered a “worst-case scenario” to the committee, in which the city and county spend a lot of up-front money and then find out they are unable to successfully negotiate the purchase of the needed property.

Should it go beyond the first step the entire engineering bill would be an estimated $230,000.

Rocco Zucchero, deputy chief of engineering for Illinois Tollway, told the committee the right-of-way would have to be obtained by April 2013 for the work to be done as part of the 62-mile resurfacing of I-90. The segment from Elgin north to Rockford is targeted for 2013-14.

Mark Williams, executive director of Growth Dimensions, said spending a lot of money to finish the Irene Road interchange “is a gamble. I can’t tell you it will bring development. But I can tell you it won’t come without it.”

Committee member Terri Glass, a county board member, offered, “If we’re going to gamble on this we night as well gamble on it now.”