New detours around Hawley construction in Mundelein coming
Concerned about the financial impact of the Hawley Street reconstruction project on local businesses, Mundelein officials are adding detour routes and planning promotional campaigns to help them out.
Officials unveiled two new routes around the construction zone during Monday night's village board meeting. Signs should be added to local roads this week.
Both of the new routes will bring drivers closer to the restaurants and shops operating in or near the roughly one-mile stretch of Hawley that's being rebuilt and widened as part of an $11.7 million project.
Normally a major east-west route through the downtown area, Hawley Street has been open only to westbound cars between Midlothian Road and Chicago Avenue since April 18.
Eastbound traffic won't be allowed on the road again until mid-August.
Signs have directed eastbound drivers to take Route 176 around the roadwork. That route directs people far away from businesses that are outside the work zone, such as the Caboose restaurant and Taco & Burrito Express.
Both eateries have reported significant drops in business since the road went one-way. Other merchants have complained about lower sales, too.
Nine signs will be added to the area to tell people about the new detour routes, Public Works Director Adam Boeche said Monday. They'll direct people trying to go east on Hawley Street to take:
• Route 45 to Route 176 to Seymour Avenue to Hawley Street.
• Or Route 176 to Prospect Avenue to Hawley Street.
Additionally, officials are going to actively promote the businesses in or near the construction zone on the village's website. That includes the creation of an interactive map at mundelein.org that will show people exactly how to get to businesses in the construction zone.
"We're hoping to have every business loaded into (it)," Boeche said.
That feature should be up this week, Boeche said.
A "shop local, shop Hawley" campaign is in the works, too, Village Administrator John Lobaito said. That message will be shared on social media, on electronic signs at local schools and churches, in electronic newsletters and on the village website.
Several Hawley Street business owners attended Monday's meeting and spoke about the construction's effect on their livelihoods.
Caboose restaurant owner Brian Carman said he liked the "shop local" marketing proposal and the new detour routes and signs.
"That's fantastic," he said of the additional signs.
Carman suggested adding the names of local businesses to signs on the detour routes, too.
The Hawley Street roadway isn't the only element of the area that's being improved as part of the project, which is a partnership between Mundelein and the Lake County Transportation Department. New traffic lights, sidewalks, storm sewers and water lines are also being added.
The work began in 2015 and should wrap up in 2017.