Round Lake's largest infrastructure improvement project is underway at Hart Road and Sunset Drive in the middle of the village.
Officials said the $4.7 million job will include sidewalk installation on both sides of Sunset and Hart to improve pedestrian safety for students and others going to John T. Magee Middle School and Round Lake High School. The work is projected for a November completion.
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New storm sewers and a widening of Hart Road to three lanes also are part of the plan.
"The inclusion of a new storm sewer on both Hart and Sunset Drive will mitigate flooding issues and enhance the important business corridor of the community," said Deborah Finn, a marketing vice president at engineering firm Baxter & Woodman Inc., which is leading the project.
Finn said planning for the work started with a preliminary engineering and environmental analysis in 2007. The project's first leg is drainage and roadwork on Sunset, to be followed by Hart Road construction.
Officials said the federal government's Surface Transportation Program is covering 70 percent of the $4.7 million tab, with Round Lake paying the balance.
Mayor Daniel MacGillis said the project funding ratio was "a win" for Round Lake. He credited Baxter & Woodman for its design work and Round Lake Area Unit District 116 for adjusting school bus routes.
Commuters won't only have to contend with the Hart Road-Sunset Drive construction in Round Lake for the next several months.
On Monday, March 31, the Lake County Division of Transportation will close Washington Street to through traffic from Cedar Lake Road to Hainesville Road. County officials said the reconstruction and widening of Washington, a busy east-west thoroughfare, should be finished before August.
MacGillis said he's not alone with concerns about traffic congestion in the area from the regional projects because more are planned for the Round Lake area in 2015. He said the list includes more Washington Street work, additional construction on Rollins Road and another phase of Cedar Lake Road from Route 120 north to Nippersink Road.
"We are getting boxed in by construction," MacGillis said. "The Hart Road project, I believe, is more local traffic and the much-needed improvement to the road and stormwater. It is the regional traffic that is the concern."
Even with his frustration over the regional projects, MacGillis said the roads need improvement. He said he applauds the county's Division of Transportation for the unprecedented improvement projects in the pipeline.
"Many of our residents need to get to the tollway to get to work," MacGillis said, "and it is not going to be easy the next couple of years. There is a cost to improvements, and the inconvenience will be felt. Hopefully, we will see smooth sailing by 2016."