Lake County road plan continues with or without Route 53
A decision is nearing on how best to plan for potential development in western Lake County.
Public comment is being accepted until June 1 for plans that began with the possible realignment and extension of Fremont Center Road at Route 60 in Fremont Township but grew to encompass a road network.
In 2012, engineers began studying an extension of Fremont Center Road north to Peterson Road, which had been realigned and widened in the past three years as a potential commercial corridor in the wide-open countryside.
Darrell Kuntz, project manager for the Lake County Division of Transporation, said the Fremont study was not prompted by a possible Route 53 extension, but the area between Peterson, Route 83 and Route 60 encompasses a vast developable expanse regardless of whether Route 53 is built.
"We're trying to get ahead of the curve and put developers on notice, this is where we're planning," he said.
According to Kuntz, the goal is to improve the Fremont Center Road and Route 60 intersection to be compatible with future extensions of Alleghany Road and Winchester Road, should property in that area be developed and those new corridors become needed.
Besides future development, the road network was being considered to accommodate the "anticipated" Route 120/53 project, according to material distributed at the first public information meeting in March 2015.
"We show it because it's a planning tool," Kuntz said. "Anything that happens with (Route) 53 may affect traffic volumes."
The proposed Route 53/120 alignment is a few miles east of Alleghany near Midlothian Road. Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor last week called for the idea to be scrapped, but no official actions to that end have been taken.
About 20,000 vehicles a day use Route 60. Fremont Center and Erhart Road just south, meet it at angles that make it challenging for vehicles and school buses serving nearby Fremont Elementary District 79 to turn left onto Route 60.
"This project is desperately needed as soon as possible. Our residents are unable to access Route 60 safely at the intersection of Fremont and 60 and Erhart and 60 due to the angle of the existing road," Fremont Township Supervisor Diana O'Kelly said.
A second public information meeting last week was attended by 108 people and drew 23 comments. Kuntz said participants favored installing a traffic signal immediately at the intersection and generally favored Alternative B, which extends Fremont Center straight north rather than north and east.
Kuntz said there were several comments not to plan for the extensions of the three roads because they felt they were for or only needed because of Route 53, and that open space needed to be preserved.
The preferred alternative is expected to be presented during a public meeting in early 2017.