Hawthorn Woods wants to get it right on Route 53 recommendation

  • The proposed Route 53 extension would pass through environmentally sensitive areas near Indian Creek Road in Hawthorn Woods

      The proposed Route 53 extension would pass through environmentally sensitive areas near Indian Creek Road in Hawthorn Woods Mick Zawislak | Staff Photographer

Updated 12/16/2014 5:43 PM

Recommendations for the proposed extension of Route 53 into central Lake County are nearing and one mayor along the corridor wants to make sure his vote accurately reflects the details as they relate to his community.

Hawthorn Woods Mayor Joe Mancino received village board approval Monday to consult with RHMG Engineers Inc. on an as-needed basis to assess the impacts of the Route 53 plan on the village. There is no retainer, per se, or a not-to-exceed figure. Services would be provided at rates of $62 to $175 per hour, depending on the information sought and who would provide it.


"I am basically looking for their guidance and advice as I get closer to casting a vote on those recommendations," said Mancino, who represents the village on two committees working on recommendations to be forwarded to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority regarding financing and land uses. About a mile and a quarter or so of the proposed corridor, north from Lake-Cook Road to connect with Route 120 near Grayslake, runs through Hawthorn Woods, according to Mancino.

"It splits some residential areas in two, and it's conceived to go through a very sensitive wetland area along Indian Creek Road," he said. "I have questions on the impact to our local community in Hawthorn Woods. I just want to be responsible and as well-informed," as possible, he added.

Recommendations regarding various aspects of the project, estimated to cost $2.35 billion to $2.65 billion, have been under study by committees overseen by the tollway authority and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. They are working in tandem to consider how to fund the proposal and minimize the impact on communities and the environment along the corridor.

The road, which has been considered and debated in various forms for more than 50 years, is envisioned as a four-lane, 45 mph parkway-style road to be built as a tollway.

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The finance committee is scheduled to meet in January and the plan is to accelerate the pace of the land use committee so draft recommendations are ready by February, according to Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who serves on both committees.

"We still have a couple of months, but we're nearing the end of the recommendation process," he said.

Among the recommendations that have risen to the top of the list are: increasing existing and creating new tolls on the Tri-State Tollway in Lake County; imposing a 4-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax in Lake County; and, creating a large, multijurisdictional special financing district.

A draft of the recommendations would be honed with input from the committee members, who would also present the findings to their individual communities for comment before a final version is created and presented to the tollway board to determine whether the project should proceed.

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