Resurfacing Route 45 through Vernon Hills and parts of three other communities is expected to create more headaches than usual for motorists when work begins Monday.
But travelers may already have caught a break.
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Fearing the impact of cutting traffic to one lane on the major east-west route, village officials apparently have made a case to the Illinois Department of Transporation to have the grinding portion of the project done at night.
"The resurfacing schedule will be impacted by the volume of traffic. We have extended morning and evening peak rush hours," said David Brown, the village engineer and director of public works.
The $1.87 million resurfacing and patching project involves nearly four miles of Route 45 from Route 83 in Mundelein southeast through Indian Creek and Vernon Hills, ending at Olde Half Day Road in Lincolnshire.
Counts vary by location, but as many as 20,400 vehicles per day use Route 45. The segment being improved is mostly in Vernon Hills and fronts several residential subdivisions, the village hall, a Metra commuter station and the Town Center retail/residential development and other uses.
Perhaps the most concentrated is The Corporate Woods business park, which has more than 3 million square feet of buildings and 50 companies with thousands of employees.
"It's going to be significant, no doubt about that," said Chuck Lamphere, president and CEO of Van Vlissingen & Co., which developed the park. Some who work there already have been exploring alternates, he said, but Route 45 is not the only potential snag.
"There are other projects ongoing in the county that affect people's commutes," he said.
The estimated completion date is Nov. 15, though it could be sooner depending on the weather.
"It's a high-traffic, high-volume road. Obviously there's not much traffic at night. That helps us out," said John Dosemagen, project manager for Peter Baker & Son Co., of Lake Bluff, the contractor for IDOT.
"You're looking at 10-plus days of milling, still," he said. Milling involves grinding off about two inches of existing road surface. That's expected to take place in eight-hour stretches ending at 4 or 5 a.m., with flaggers on duty.
While the road needs a new, smooth surface, it's not the preferred option the village has been seeking for decades.
"The sad thing is this is just a resurfacing. It's not the widening," said village Trustee Jim Schultz. Brown said letters involving a long-term fix for Route 45 date to the 1980s.
IDOT several years ago began the official process for the estimated $74 million project that involves rebuilding and widening the road to two lanes in each direction. It would include turn lanes at various intervals, upgraded traffic signals at 15 intersections, a multiuse path and other improvements.
Public meetings have been held and preferred design selected, but it remains in the planning stage. The next step would be to create detailed documents that would be used in the bidding process. However, money to do the work is not included in IDOT's five-year plan.
"The whole project won't be done for at least five years and more like 10 years because of the state of the economy and ability to get funding," Schultz said.