ELBURN – A large red, white and blue ribbon was stretched across Anderson Road in Elburn on Monday morning, held by officials who also carried pairs of scissors.
The scene was the grand finale to a ceremony that marked the opening of the Anderson Road extension, which includes a bridge to cross over the Union Pacific tracks on the south side of town.
Elburn officials were joined by those from Kane County, Kaneland School District 302 and the federal government at the ceremony, which was at the intersection of Anderson Road and Prairie Valley Street, just east of Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School. Fifth-graders from the school sang the national anthem at the beginning of the ceremony.
By 10:35 a.m., after speeches from Elburn Village President Dave Anderson, Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, Kane County Board member Drew Frasz and U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, the extension was open.
Noting the children who performed at the ceremony, Lauzen pointed out “by the time these children are our ages, they will already have had a half-century of using this bridge.”
Featuring a 45 mph speed limit, the extension allows traffic south through Keslinger Road, with access to the Metra station in Elburn. There also is a new intersection, as drivers can travel west on Hicks Drive, then turn south on either Paul Street or Dempsey Street to reach North Street.
The bridge crossing allows drivers to travel from Route 38 to Keslinger Road without having to wait for a train. In the past, officials have pointed to a study that showed 105 trains a day passed through the village. Officials also have stressed it will be helpful to emergency vehicles, which otherwise might be stuck waiting for a train.
On Monday, foggy conditions prevented those in attendance from seeing the bridge from the site of the ceremony, which was noted in speeches by Anderson and Frasz, with Anderson concluding his speech with, “Trust me, as Drew said, it’s there.” At the ceremony’s conclusion, officials took a drive across the bridge.
During their speeches, Anderson and Frasz talked about the 20 years of effort needed to make the project a reality. Previously, officials stated the project included more than $21 million in state, federal and local funds. On Monday, Anderson noted the work done by former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert for “bringing money back here.”
Frasz talked about how the extension’s opening is key to another project – Shodeen Inc.’s Elburn Station development. Dave Patzelt, president of Shodeen Inc., was at the event. Patzelt noted Shodeen “couldn’t build homes until the road was opened … and the road has opened.” He said by spring, some sewer work could be done for the first phase of Elburn Station, which will be south of the Metra tracks and east of Anderson Road.
The Anderson Road project’s groundbreaking event took place in November 2013. Frasz praised the construction of the project, as it was completed ahead of schedule. He said it was “a very tough job” because of a wet spring. He also thanked members of the Elburn Village Board for “careful consideration of this project,” saying he included the Elburn Station project in that.
Hultgren took note that there was a diverse crowd at the event, including local, state, federal and school district officials, and said it was a great day to celebrate.
“This is an exciting day,” Hultgren said.