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updated: 12/13/2010 3:43 PM

Rollins Road plans to be presented

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Construction is a few years away but the process to untangle a consistent problem at Rollins Road and Route 83 in Round Lake Beach is reaching a milestone.

The preferred alternative to do that will be on display from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday during a public hearing hosted by the Lake County Division of Transportation at the Cultural and Civic Center of Round Lake Beach, off Hook Drive west of Route 83.

"The public hearing is usually the last meeting you have in Phase 1," of a project, said Chuck Gleason, project manager for the county. "You take to the public what you're actually going to build."

The intersection is particularly thorny for motorists, in part, because shopping areas occupy three of the corners and about 50 commuter and freight trains cross Rollins daily immediately west of Route 83.

The idea to improve the intersection, known as the Rollins Road Gateway plan, was introduced in April 2009. A second public meeting was held in October 2009, and four meetings with area businesses have been held.

Feedback was gathered and a series of concepts developed. The preferred alternative essentially creates an underpass by dropping both Rollins and Route 83 several feet while building a bridge for the railroad crossing, Gleason said.

The meeting will be in an open-house format, meaning visitors can arrive at any time. A continuous overview of the process, history and preferred alternative will be played. Exhibits explaining the preferred alternative will be displayed and transportation staff and consultants will be available to answer questions.

Eventually, a report will be finalized and submitted to the Illinois Department of Transportation for review and approval. The next step would be the project design, which takes 18 months to 2 years.

Gleason said the hope is to have the project out for bid by fall 2013.

The Rollins Gateway is one of four "challenge projects" being considered for funding by the county using increased sales tax funds for transportation projects.