Plans moving ahead slowly for Route 60/83 improvements in Mundelein
The first part of the lengthy process to widen Route 60/83 through Mundelein is nearing a conclusion, but construction remains several years away at best.
In fact, the $94 million project is not in the Illinois Department of Transportation's six-year construction program, and there is no money available to create documents for bidding or to buy property.
Yet there has been progress in the long road from planning to building, with details coming into focus for the eventual 3.5-mile improvement from Route 176 to just south of where 60/83 splits.
IDOT on Wednesday held a third and final public information session on the project, with the intent of wrapping up Phase I this summer. That involves a variety of engineering and environmental studies, along with efforts to gather input from various stakeholders to determine a preferred preliminary design.
"The improvement is sorely needed, (I'm) just disappointed the funding is 10 to 12 years out," Fremont Township Supervisor Diana O'Kelly said, noting that there have been temporary signals on 60/83 at Midlothian Road for 20 years.
Work would include rebuilding and widening the road to five lanes, with extra lanes at major intersections, to meet current and projected 2040 travel demands.
"The existing traffic numbers already exceed the capacity of this roadway," said Steve Schilke, head of consultant studies for IDOT.
Typically, a two-lane road is considered at capacity with 14,000 vehicles per day, he said. The number of vehicles using 60/83 at Midlothian Road currently is 22,900, figures show, and that's expected to rise to 27,000 daily. On Midlothian at that point, the projection is for 30,000 vehicles a day, although the projection is based on the Route 53 extension being built.
A center "hybrid" median -- part flush, part barrier -- would be included. Provisions have been made for a 10-foot-wide shared use path for the length of the project, although that would require local funding.
Ditches would be replaced with storm sewers, and 10- to 12-foot-high sound walls could be installed between Midlothian and Route 176, if affected parties along the route support that.
The first public meeting on the project was held in 2009, and periodic meetings with stakeholders, including representatives from Mundelein, Lake County, Lake County forest preserves, residents and businesses followed.
A desire to bypass the CN/Wisconsin Central railroad tracks, a frequent choke point on the two-lane road, emerged and was added to the project after the second public meeting in 2013.
Schilke said the hope is to get needed projects positioned in the process to continue when money becomes available. Money for widening is at a premium, as the vast majority of IDOT money is used for maintenance projects, he added.
"It's very rare when you see the trifecta funded. Phase 1 takes time," he said.
Residents can see more details and comment on the project until March 17 at ilrte6083study.com.