by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVEâ€”Village President Sean Michels will breathe a sigh of relief on Thursday, July 31, when the Municipal Drive and Galena Boulevard extensions open for traffic, just in time for the 2009 Solheim Cup.
â€œI see this as the key to our retail,â€ Village President Sean Michels said at the time. â€œWe can also use it for transportation when the Solheim Cup comes.â€
The project includes the extension of Municipal Drive north from Bastian Drive to Route 30 and from Route 30 to Galena Boulevard, and the extension of Galena Boulevard west to where it meets Municipal Drive.
Initiated in 2005, the project was held up several times, due to funding issues and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) requirements for additional intersection improvements.
The cost, initially projected at $8.1 million, increased to $10 million to include IDOT’s requirements for dual left turn lanes at the intersection of Galena Boulevard and Route 47 and dedicated right turn lanes on all four legs of the Route 47 and Galena Boulevard intersection.
When former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was in office, he requested $4.5 million for the project in the federal transportation bill. The bill, held up by the threat of a presidential veto because the amount was too high, was passed in 2007, and included $3.5 million for the project.
However, the federal money required a state match. When state government seemed unable to act quickly enough to provide its share of the funding, the entire project was at risk. The Village Board voted to step in and cover the local funding requirement. The majority of the balance will come from village bonds, and will be paid off through sales tax revenue.
Construction on the roads began last summer, and village officials have at times held their breath, hoping that the project would be completed in time for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Solheim Cup Aug. 17-23. Solheim Cup tournament director Kelly Hyne estimated that 40,000 fans per day will attend the event at Rich Harvest Farms off of Route 30 and Dugan Road.
Michels praised Geneva Construction Company for its speed and efficiency in getting the project done in time.
â€œThey were really motivated to get it done quickly,â€ he said.
â€œWith the opening of the Harter Road Middle School, the new Sugar Grove Library building and the Solheim Cup, it’s exciting to see some fresh asphalt around town,â€ Michels said.
In addition to easing the current flow of traffic through the village, the extensions will open up 180 acres of the area west of Waubonsee Corporate Center identified for commercial and retail development, according to Michels.
â€œIt took three years to get the improvements completed,â€ Michels said. â€œCommercial developments don’t have three years to wait.â€