County Agreement Removes Hurdle for 143rd Street Widening

County Agreement Removes Hurdle for 143rd Street Widening
Posted on 01/05/2011

On Wednesday, January 5, the Cook County Board approved a three-party agreement, overcoming a major obstacle to the widening of 143rd Street in Orland Park. The agreement is between the Village of Orland Park, Gallagher and Henry Builders and the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

The agreement will allow for the widening of 143rd Street between Southwest Highway and approximately 108th Avenue. It will permit widening seventeen feet into forest preserve district property to the north, rather than moving into residential properties to the south.

"This agreement was reached after lengthy negotiations among all involved," said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. "The village facilitated a settlement agreement between Gallagher and Henry and the Cook County Forest Preserve District that enables the Forest Preserve District to acquire more than 60 acres of land from Gallagher and Henry to extend the greenbelt from McGinnis Slough and Lake Tampier," the mayor explained.

The Forest Preserve District has wanted the Gallagher and Henry land, which had been tied up in eminent domain proceedings for the last several years.

"The Village of Orland Park is dedicating to the Forest Preserve District nearly fourteen acres of land that was to be donated to the village. This adds to the Forest Preserve District's 60-acre acquisition," McLaughlin said.

In return, the Cook County Forest Preserve District will dedicate a 1.5 acre permanent easement on the north side of 143rd Street, along district property between Southwest Highway and approximately 108th Avenue.

"This allows for the design engineering for the 143rd Street widening to be complete and construction programmed as this project is currently part of the Illinois Department of Transportation's Five Year Capital Improvement Plan," McLaughlin said.

With the acquired easement, a right-of-way will not be needed from the properties on the south side of 143rd Street. The planned improvements along 143rd Street west of Southwest Highway to Will-Cook Road will include two through lanes in each direction and a center turn lane. Portions of the improvement will also include landscape medians.

The settlement also includes Gallagher and Henry's proposed subdivision adjacent to a portion of the property on the east side of Wolf Road being annexed into the Village of Orland Park.

"All parties wanted something and the village was able to develop a strategy for finding mutual ground and negotiating an agreement," McLaughlin said. "With everyone's cooperation, we were able to meet the needs of all parties in advancing these very important projects," he added.

"The Village of Orland Park gains additional forest preserve property on its boundaries and we're now able to advance the sorely needed widening and improvement of 143rd Street," McLaughlin said. "And, a new subdivision will be developed according to the village's land use requirements," he noted, adding, "This is a win-win-win situation for the Cook County Forest Preserve District, for Gallagher and Henry Builders and for the Village of Orland Park."

"Many people helped to make this possible and we especially thank Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman's Office, our village staff, the Forest Preserve District staff, Gallagher & Henry, and everyone who worked together to make sure that everyone's needs were met," McLaughlin said.