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Ben Street to stay Ben Street — for now

Updated: March 22, 2013 10:30AM

Ben Street in Plano will remain Ben Street, at least for the time being.

But it will not remain Plano’s street. One of the main streets through the city’s south side, Ben Street is also County Highway 1, known for most of its length as Fox River Drive.

The Kendall County Board this week approved an intergovernmental agreement with Plano that will change Ben Street from what is known as a “county highway extended,” to just a county highway. It means County Highway 1 now officially runs from Route 34 in Plano to where it ends in Church Street in Millington.

The “county highway extended” status is typical for county roads that run through municipalities.

But for the half-mile or so that Ben Street runs through Plano, it bears little resemblance to a county highway.

It’s a regular, residential city street, with driveways on both sides and cross streets as it runs through town. Fran Klaas, Kendall highway director, said while it has always been considered the extension of a county highway, the new agreement will make it a county highway officially.

“We’ve always talked about the continuity between county highways and state routes,” Klaas told the County Board. “Now it will become a county highway all the way.”

Under the agreement, Plano will finish work it has planned for Ben Street underneath the road – water and sewer work. Then the county highway department will come in and repave the street.

“Then it will become a county highway, all the way,” Klaas said. “The city will be 100 percent responsible for anything under the roadway, we will be responsible for the roadway itself.”

Plano still will be responsible for snow removal on the street, although the county will take care of maintenance.

Board member John Purcell asked if the county could rename Ben Street to Fox River Drive for continuity sake, but Klaas said because of the number of residences along it with Ben Street addresses, it might be too much of an inconvenience.

He suggested the county could, at some point, sign it as both Fox River Drive and Ben Street.

“But we’ll leave it as is for now,” he said.

Klaas also said the county could do similar agreements on other county roads in municipalities. He said both Fox Road and Van Emmon Road in Yorkville “could and should” have similar agreements some time in the future.

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