Governor Pat Quinn made an appearance at the Huntley construction site of the future Route 47 and Jane Adams Memorial tollway (I-90) Interchange on Monday afternoon. More than 200 people attended the event, along with members of local governments and representatives from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway.
The project is part of a 15 year, $12 billion dollar program called Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, and will include six new ramps, all electronic toll booths and reconstruction of the bridge, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
The 69 million dollar project is a cooperative effort between the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois Tollway, the Village of Huntley, and Kane and McHenry Counties, according to Governor Quinn.
“Energetic partnerships and projects such as this new green interchange are paving the way for growth," Governor Quinn said. "At a time when other states are curbing transportation projects, Illinois is moving forward. This project will improve the quality of life for residents in Huntley, McHenry County and Kane County for years to come, and will do so while protecting the environment."
The Governor touted the project as a gateway to economic development and a source of jobs for the region.
“The number one issue for every day people for the heart and soul of our state, people who pay the taxes, who raise kids are good jobs that can support a family,” he said.
“The economic development opportunity, is not just for Huntley, but really for McHenry County and Kane County,” he added. “We’re going to focus in on economic growth for everybody in every region and every county.”
Huntley Village President Chuck Sass said the ceremonial groundbreaking Monday was the culmination of a nearly two decades long process to bring an interchange to Huntley and the surrounding region.
“This long anticipated project will bring new jobs and investments to the area,” Sass said.
"We are catching the eye of domestic and international businesses because of the full access interchange, our business friendly environment and our close proximity to two international airports," Sass said. "This is a perfect example of local and state governments working together to maximize taxpayer dollars to promote economic development."
One of the largest new job creators will be a Centegra Medical facility set to be built in Huntley. The hospital will house 128 beds, ambulatory care, a fitness facility and an acute care facility with a level 2 trauma center. 800 hundred construction workers will be employed during a two year period and 1100 permanent positions will open when the facility is up and running.
The project is the first “green” interchange in Illinois, according to Governor Quinn. “That’s the hallmark of the 21st century. We have to have a green way of thinking and a green way of acting.”
Illinois Tollway Executive Director, Kristi LaFluer listed some of the eco-friendly features of the new Interchange, “...geothermal heating and climate control for some of the facilities, it will be all electronic so there won’t be starting and stopping of vehicles, and there will be LED lighting going in,” she said. “It will be a model for future interchange projects along the tollway system.”
“7,000 people use this partial interchange daily,” said Executive director of Illinois Tollway, Kristi Le Fleur. “But by 2030 we expect that number to triple.”