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updated: 9/14/2012 5:20 AM

Buffalo Grove road project could cost millions more

Lake-Cook Road work could cost $54 million

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Planned improvements to Weiland and Lake-Cook roads in Buffalo Grove could be significantly more expensive than originally estimated, an engineer told village leaders this week.

In an update to the Buffalo Grove village board on the project's progress, Robert Andres of Civiltech Engineering said the cost estimate of the Weiland improvements has grown from $32 million to $40 million, while the estimate of the Lake-Cook work has jumped from $40 million to $54 million.

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The improvements will be financed mostly with federal funds funneled through a variety of sources, including the Lake County Council of Mayors, the Northwest Municipal Conference, Illinois Department of Transportation, Lake County Division of Transportation and the Cook County Highway Department. The village will contribute about $1.5 million to the work.

Andres said the primary reason for the growing estimate is the belief that construction-related costs will rise by the time work begins, which is projected to be at least several years away.

"If this could go to construction (now), it would probably be 15 to 20 percent less than those numbers I gave you," he said. "But assuming they may be built within the next six to eight years, we have inflated the cost to cover any contingencies."

The project includes widening Weiland from two to four lanes between Lake-Cook and Aptakisic roads, and widening Lake-Cook from Hastings Lane to Raupp Boulevard from four lanes to six lanes. The plan also includes bicycle lanes and two noise walls to reduce the impact on adjacent neighborhoods.

Although it doesn't look like much progress has been made on the project, Andres said much has been happening behind the scenes. That includes preparation of environmental and design reports.

The scheduling of a public hearing, initially planned for this summer, has been postponed while engineers await Federal Highway Administration approval of an environmental assessment, Andres said.

The public hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 17.

Planners also need to coordinate with the Buffalo Grove Park District and Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102 regarding the project's impact on recreational properties.

"When you spend federal dollars, we have to play by the federal rules," Andres said. "And the federal rules that pertain to recreation land is that you shall not use any recreational or park property unless there is no prudent or feasible alternative."

The impact on the school and park district, he added, involves little more than grading easements at driveway locations.

Although the village will feel little impact from the growing cost estimates, project opponents seized on it to again level their objections to the work.

"We're still taxpayers, whether it is for the village, for the county (or) for the federal government," said village resident Jeff Lieberman. "There are better ways to do this."

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