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posted: 3/1/2013 6:41 PM

Lake County transportation department turns 100

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The Lake County Division of Transportation will celebrate 100 years of service this year.

A transportation system that started out as dirt roads is now a network of safe and efficient roadways, intersections, roundabouts and bike paths.

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In 1913, most of the roads in Illinois were made of dirt, and inclement weather made them impossible to navigate. There was a growing movement to develop a hard roads system to get Illinois out of the mud.

Under the Tice Act of 1913, the state legislature created the county superintendent of highways position, shifting the responsibility for building the road system in Illinois from the townships to the counties.

A century later, the Lake County Department of Transportation is responsible for more than 300 miles of roadway and more than 50 miles of bike paths, and it is about to embark on the most ambitious construction season in its history.

"The county board made a commitment to invest and improve in our transportation infrastructure by dedicating 100 percent of the quarter-cent sales tax to improving transportation," county board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said. "Over the next five years, Lake County will spend $557 million toward transportation."

Throughout the year, the transportation department will celebrate its milestone with pictures, videos, stories and special events.

Check lakecountyil.gov/Transportation/Pages/LCDOT100.aspx for updates, and follow the department on Twitter and Facebook.

If you have special memories of the evolution of the Lake County road network, or if you have historic pictures that you'd like to share, send an email to lcdot100@lakecountyil.gov.

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