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What dates and traffic signal projects have in common

This column by Record Newspapers Editor John Etheredge was originally featured in the Jan. 31 edition of our weekly Kendall County Local Government Newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your email every Thursday at no charge, visit our website at and click on "sign up for the Kendall County Government Newsletter."

Q: What do traffic signal construction projects and dates have in common?

A: At times they both can be REAL complicated.

With and probably some other popular dating sites, participants uncertain of where they are at in a particular relationship can identify their current status in their profile as "It's complicated." For traffic signal projects, location can serve to complicate their installation.

Since this newsletter focuses on Kendall County governmental agencies and issues, we'll set aside the complexity of online dating at this point and focus on traffic signals, specifically the signals set for installation later this year at the intersection of Galena Road and Concord Drive, about one-quarter mile west of Orchard Road.

Montgomery Village Board members have been pushing for the installation of the signals as a necessary public safety improvement in recent years. But the intersection's location served to add an extra layer of complexity to the project.

Galena Road west of Orchard Road serves as the north-south boundary line between Montgomery and Oswego. In addition, Galena Road is owned and maintained by Kendall County. That meant that instead of one entity such as Oswego or Montgomery proceeding alone on the signals, three government agencies first had to negotiate and then approve an intergovernmental agreement for the project that assigns cost-sharing and other responsibilities to each of the agencies. Last month, both village boards and the county board approved the agreement in separate votes.

In a memo to the Montgomery Village Board dated Jan. 7, Jeff Zoephel, village administrator, noted that under terms of an existing boundary agreement between Montgomery and Oswego, the two villages had previously agreed to each pay 50 percent of the cost for any improvements – including traffic signals – at the Galena Road and Concord Drive intersection. However, since Galena Road accounts for two of the four "legs" at the intersection, he said the county agreed to pay 50 percent of the construction cost with the two villages each contributing 25 percent. In addition, Zoephel said the county has agreed to assume maintenance responsibilities for the signal.

The village's share of the anticipated $355,000 signal project cost will be $102,500, with the balance paid by the county and Oswego, Zoephel noted.

Zoephel told the village board that work should begin on the signals this summer.

Village board member Steve Jungermann, however, asked if there was any way the signals could be installed sooner.

Peter Wallers, president of Engineering Enterprises, Inc., the village's engineering consultant and engineer on the signal project, said he would see what, if anything, could be done to expedite the project. But Waller also cautioned board members that traffic signals projects, no matter of where they are located, are sometimes subject to another complication: delays in the delivery of traffic signal equipment.

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