Roundabout opens ahead of schedule in Lake Barrington

Motorists in southwestern Lake County caught a break Friday with the early opening of a $7 million roundabout at River and Roberts roads in Lake Barrington.

Roberts Road was scheduled to be closed for about three weeks beginning Oct. 12. But the lengthy and disruptive detour led contractor Berger Excavating of Wauconda to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak, to complete the fifth roundabout in Lake County and the first with multiple lanes.

"They definitely increased the (number) of workers and worked longer hours to get it open," said Jeff Dayson, resident engineer for the Lake County Division of Transportation.

The project to replace the "T" intersection began in August 2014 and included the reconstruction of River Road east and west of the intersection. The area is bordered by wetlands, and a considerable amount of time was spent sinking about 2,000 cement pilings and allowing the soil to stabilize.

But the roundabout, which is a new concept to many drivers, has taken shape quickly. The configuration is different enough that transportation officials on Thursday posted a new video showing motorists how to drive on the multilane circle. The video had been shared 358 times on Facebook within just over a day and also can be viewed on YouTube.

"We've never had anything like this - not even close," spokeswoman Brooke Hooker said of the interaction. "All of us are watching the numbers tick up, and it's really amazing."

Roundabouts are supposed to increase traffic capacity and reduce injury crashes without the need for a traffic signal.

Less than an hour after the roundabout opened, Lake County Board member Nick Sauer, who represents the area, planned to give it a spin.

"It's something new for the area, and I think it will take a couple of times around the circle for people to get used to it," he said.

"I'm very excited it's open. My residents have been very patient."

Dayson said a retaining wall has to be stained and some landscaping work will be done in the spring. Work to connect two nearby subdivisions with a Lake County Forest Preserve District trail is expected to start next week and should be complete in about a month, Dayson said.

Officials say there have been critics of the other roundabout projects but most relent after driving on them.

Visit to learn more about the project.

  Cars use the new roundabout at River and Roberts roads in Lake Barrington. The roundabout, which opened to traffic Friday, is the fifth in Lake County. Steve Lundy/
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