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updated: 7/31/2014 10:48 AM

Warren Township High School to parents: Don't fight construction traffic to bring students to school

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  • Traffic backs up on westbound Grand Avenue as crews prepares for Des Plaines River bridge reconstruction this week in Gurnee. Warren Township High School officials are encouraging parents to not drive their children to the O'Plaine Road campus for freshmen and sophomores.

       Traffic backs up on westbound Grand Avenue as crews prepares for Des Plaines River bridge reconstruction this week in Gurnee. Warren Township High School officials are encouraging parents to not drive their children to the O'Plaine Road campus for freshmen and sophomores.
    Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • Reconstruction of the Des Plaines River bridge on Grand Avenue in Gurnee will occur through 2015. Traffic crawled at times this week as crews prepare for full-scale work.

       Reconstruction of the Des Plaines River bridge on Grand Avenue in Gurnee will occur through 2015. Traffic crawled at times this week as crews prepare for full-scale work.
    Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 

Parents are being advised to skip driving their children to Warren Township High School's freshmen-sophomore campus because of traffic jams expected from nearby road work in Gurnee.

Traffic has crawled along Grand Avenue, which is down to one lane in each direction as crews prepare for reconstruction of a bridge over the Des Plaines River. The work on the east-west thoroughfare is projected to continue through 2015.

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Officials at Gurnee-based Warren District 121 say they expect it'll be difficult getting to the O'Plaine Road campus for the freshmen and sophomores because of the building's proximity to the construction, which is why they have issued the advisory to parents. The bridge is between Route 21 and O'Plaine Road, east of the Tri-State Tollway.

Roughly 24,600 vehicles use Grand Avenue east of the tollway in Gurnee, according to a 2013 Illinois Department of Transportation traffic count.

District 121 officials said students will be better off taking a bus when classes start Thursday, Aug. 14. About 2,150 students attend the O'Plaine campus.

"We would encourage (parents) not to drive your child to school unless it is necessary," O'Plaine Principal Greg Meyer said. "Should you have to drive, please allow plenty of time to navigate the increased traffic and to allow for delays created by road construction."

District 121's transportation director, Tina Delabre, said bus route schedules have been adjusted to account for the construction-related congestion when students are picked up near their homes in the morning. She said there may be delays returning the teenagers home after school.

Gurnee Elementary District 56 and Woodland Elementary District 50 officials said they will monitor the traffic situation, but they are not yet following Warren by encouraging parents not to drive their children to school. Districts 50 and 56 begin classes Wednesday, Aug. 27.

District 56's Viking Middle School on Old Grand Avenue in Gurnee is just north of the work zone and River Trail School on O'Plaine Road is to the south.

"We're going to kind of wait and see," District 56 Superintendent John Hutton said. "We may be making the same decision (as Warren) in a few weeks."

Woodland's schools are well west of the Grand Avenue bridge reconstruction.

Officials said a minimum of one lane heading either way on Grand Avenue is supposed to be open at all times during the bridge work.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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