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posted: 8/17/2013 8:02 AM

Work planned for Hart Road and Sunset Drive in Round Lake

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By Conor Morris

Round Lake officials will submit final plans to the Illinois Department of Transportation on Monday for $8.5 million of road improvements to Hart Road and Sunset Drive, an important transit area for two local schools and the industrial park.

Public Works Director Ron Kroop said work on the two roads is expected to start next March and continue for eight to nine months before a tentative finish date in late 2014.

Hart Road between Sunset Drive and Cedar Lake Road would be closed to through traffic for around 31 days during construction. The western section of Hart Road, between Sunset Drive and Railroad Ave, near the Metra station, will be closed for 20 days.

Sunset Drive from Hart Road to Long Lake Drive would be reduced to one lane of traffic during the day and two reduced-size lanes at night after construction begins.

Kroop said the road improvements will include a new middle turn lane and storm drain on Hart Road as well as new sidewalks north of Hart Road and west of Sunset Drive. Both roads will also have restructuring of the curb and gutters and pavement rehabilitation.

"The roads are long overdue (for paving) and we would have done it earlier if we had the funding," Kroop said.

Hart Road and Sunset Drive are vital for John T. Magee Middle School, Round Lake High School and Round Lake's industrial district on Lotus Drive. Round Lake Mayor Daniel MacGillis said village officials met with representatives from the schools and with local business owners to discuss how to minimize traffic flow problems.

"It's a big project, it does have traffic impacts, and I want to make sure it's as painless as possible," Kroop said. Kroop added the road work is long overdue and needs to be completed quickly next year. The pavement on both roads is uneven and worn, there are drainage issues on Hart Road and the small entrance to Hart Road from Cedar Lake Road makes travel for large vehicles like school buses and trucks a headache.

"The infrastructure's not good for trucks going to and from the industrial park," MacGillis said.

Current foot traffic on Hart Road and Sunset Drive -- most often students coming to and from the middle school -- can also be dangerous because of a lack of sidewalks and maintained curbs in the area. MacGillis said student safety was a major concern in the early stages of the Hart and Sunset roads project.

Seventy percent of the $8.5 million will come from the federal Surface Transportation Program, which gives money for public roadwork to IDOT each year.

After the 190 pages of final plans and specifications for Hart Road and Sunset Drive are sent to IDOT, revisions can be suggested by the state agency before the contract bidding process starts early this November. Kroop said he expected the contract to be bid out to an independent company by mid-January.

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