Widening and rebuilding of one of the last two-lane segments of Washington Street in Lake County begins in earnest next week.
Starting Tuesday, Washington between Cedar Lake Road and Hainesville Road in Round Lake and Round Lake Park will be closed to through traffic for 60 calendar days.
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Originally, the milelong stretch between Hainesville Road and Cedar Lake Road was to have been closed beginning in mid-August and traffic detoured. But delays in relocating utilities has altered the schedule and divided the $8.5 million project into two sections over two construction seasons.
Utility companies have been working west to east during the two-month period when the entire roadway will be removed and replaced from Cedar Lake Road to Linden Drive. The improvements, including a center-turn lane, bike path, sidewalk, water main, curbs and gutters, will then be installed.
The detour will be Cedar Lake Road to Route 134 to Route 120 to Hainesville Road.
"Rather than doing nothing until next year, this way we can get something built. We didn't want to keep traffic detoured around a road that nobody was working on," said Glenn Petko, engineer of construction for the Lake County Division of Transporation.
Utilities will continue working toward the eastern limit of the project near Ravine Drive, just west of Hainesville Road.
"We wanted to get people able to use the facilities sooner," Petko said. "We've already got money allocated to the job, we've got a contractor hired to do the work."
The entire road will reopen in mid-November. Crews will return in May, when it will be closed again for three months to finish the work.
Washington Street carries about 15,000 vehicles per day and is one of the routes to John T. Magee Middle School on Cedar Lake Road and Round Lake High School to the north.
Round Lake Area Unit District 116 has been prepared for the work and doesn't expect any major impact because of the road closing.
"Knowing that this is coming, we did alter some of our (bus) routes at the beginning of the school year," said Bill Johnston, the district's assistant superintendent of business.
Round Lake Park Mayor Linda Lucassen said the project is needed.
"It's an inconvenience, but I think residents will appreciate it when it's done," she said.
For updates visit new.washingtonstreetinfo.com/.