Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor joined fellow county officials and leaders of the legal community Tuesday to celebrate the reaching of a key milestone in the $112 million expansion of the county courthouse.
A "Topping Out" ceremony marked the placement of the final beam atop a new eight-story tower being built adjacent to the current county court facility in Waukegan. Lawlor and others signed their names to the final beam, which will be lifted into place Wednesday.
"It's really the completion of the structure of the building," said Matt Guarnery, a consultant representing the county on the project.
The expansion project, approved in 2014 after years of study and discussion, includes an approximately 200,000-square-foot court tower and a tunnel connecting the jail and current courthouse.
Construction began nearly two years ago and the tunnel took about a year to complete, Guarnery said. It will be used to transport prisoners and is not a public component.
The familiar bridge over Washington Street will reopen when the court tower is complete likely in the summer of 2018, Guarnery said.
The work also includes renovations to the current courts building and other upgrades. Officials say the new space will serve the future needs of the county's legal system well into the future.