Major road construction near Warren Township High School's freshmen-sophomore campus in Gurnee didn't cause travel delays for students on their first day of classes, officials said Thursday.
Whether the ease of travel occurred because more students took buses to the O'Plaine Road building -- as urged by administrators -- was not immediately known.
Outside the O'Plaine Road building, as the estimated 2,150 pupils arrived on time Thursday morning, Principal Gregory Meyer was among the satisfied administrators.
"We have 39 buses that we run every day, anyway," Meyer told the Daily Herald. "But the more kids that can ride the bus and the fewer parents that have to drop off their students in our lot, it's going to be less backed up. And, hopefully, we can get kids to school on time."
In a letter sent before the 2014-15 academic season began, Warren District 121 officials urged parents to skip driving their teenagers to the O'Plaine Road campus because of the nearby construction project on Grand Avenue. The school is on O'Plaine, just south of Grand.
District 121 transportation director Tina Delabre said she adjusted bus routes so the students will be picked up 10 minutes earlier for the school year to compensate for potential construction delays. Gurnee police were at the O'Plaine building to direct traffic Thursday.
"From our end, things went very smooth," she said.
Delabre said it was not immediately known if more O'Plaine pupils took buses Thursday compared to the first day of school last year. She said she expects to receive numbers next week to make a comparison.
Traffic is down to one lane in each direction on the busy east-west thoroughfare for reconstruction of a bridge over the Des Plaines River, just east of Route 21 in Gurnee. The work is projected to continue through 2015.
Delabre said she's crafted a plan for the school buses to mostly avoid Grand Avenue and Route 21 when taking students to the O'Plaine Road building or the Almond Road campus for juniors and seniors on the edge of Gurnee's west side. She said Washington Street, south of Grand, is part of the alternate route.
Roughly 24,600 vehicles use Grand Avenue east of the Tri-State Tollway in Gurnee, according to a 2013 Illinois Department of Transportation traffic count.
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.
•Daily Herald photographer Steve Lundy contributed to this report.