Mundelein officials, merchants celebrate completion of Hawley Street roadwork
Mundelein officials, business owners and residents are celebrating the completion of the $10.3 million widening and repaving of a stretch of Hawley Street.
The roadway -- the major east-west artery through downtown Mundelein -- had been torn up since April, resulting in traffic detours, headaches for drivers and lost customers for many of the shops and restaurants in the area.
But now the work is done and the construction barricades and barrels are gone -- and people are happy.
"The street looks great," said Esmerelda Briceno, a manager at Taco & Burrito Express, 410 E. Hawley St. "It's going to make a great impact on downtown Mundelein."
The construction project focused on a roughly one-mile section of Hawley between Midlothian Road and Chicago Avenue. The road was repaved and widened to make room for a new center-turn lane.
Additionally, new traffic lights, sidewalks, water mains and sanitary sewers were added, as was a wide bicycle path.
Mundelein and Lake County transportation officials teamed up on the project, with the county covering most of the tab. That stretch of Hawley now will become the county's maintenance responsibility.
To mark the end of the project, village and county officials gathered at the corner of Hawley and California Avenue near Sandburg Middle School on Thursday afternoon for a brief ceremony.
Lake County transportation division Director Paula Trigg called the project "a great, great partnership."
The project actually began in 2015, but the most disruptive phase began this past April when eastbound Hawley was shut down for several months.
The lane closure and resulting detours hurt a lot of businesses along Hawley. Some reduced operating hours; others cut staff.
The downward trend was somewhat eased by promotional efforts during the summer, including one that let people trade receipts from Hawley Street stores for socks decorated with Mundelein's logo.
During his remarks at Thursday's ceremony, Mayor Steve Lentz thanked the merchants for their patience during the project. He also thanked residents who patronized the stores in the construction zone despite the roadwork.
"The residents really rose up and helped our businesses," Lentz said.