What you need to know about 2017 roadwork in the suburbs
Find your inner happy place, suburban commuter. Road work season is banging on the car door.
Fortunately, the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) reconstruction is almost complete.
Unfortunately, the Illinois Department of Transportation is widening an eastbound section of I-90, the Jane Byrne Interchange project rumbles on, and there are enough local road improvements to make your head spin.
Meanwhile, looking at the politics of pavement, what's not happening is just as intriguing as what is.
With no state budget in sight as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner feuds with Democrats, the idea of a capital plan to fix infrastructure seems as likely as unicorns in hard hats.
That disconnect is not only strangling transportation funding in Illinois, it's also thwarting a pet project of Rauner's -- adding tolled express lanes to I-55 in Cook and DuPage counties.
The governor wants the private sector to build the extra lanes, but Democrats are ignoring a Republican bill seeking to establish a public-private partnership.
On March 27, Rauner warned Democrats that "time is running out" to pass the legislation, but as of Monday, it still hung in limbo.
For the Illinois tollway, money's not a problem. But the agency is locked in a dispute with the Canadian Pacific Railroad over land it wants for I-490, a ring road around the west side of O'Hare International Airport.
If Canadian Pacific wins support from federal regulators in a pending case, it's a potential catastrophe for the tollway.
"We're committed to do whatever we can with CP to move the needle," tollway Executive Director Greg Bedalov said. "If we don't get moving we'll start risking revenue, design plans, scheduling, construction season and timing and everything else. It's very critical."
In contrast, the tollway is on target with Route 390, an extension of the former Elgin-O'Hare Expressway east along Thorndale Avenue toward the airport that will link to I-490.
This year workers will complete a section between I-290 and Route 83.
Massive improvements to the Jane Addams (I-90) are nearly finished with ramp work at Roselle and Barrington roads and a funky new diverging diamond interchange at Elmhurst Road to be completed later this year. This summer the tollway also will switch on a "smart road," a corridor of real-time digital signs between O'Hare and Barrington Road.
But before I-90 drivers exhale, IDOT will launch two significant projects this year, picking up where the toll road ends near O'Hare. Workers will add another lane eastbound between Cumberland and Harlem avenues and construct a flyover ramp to Cumberland Avenue.
Both should eliminate a notorious bottleneck and hazardous weaving as I-90 and I-190 merge.
State planners are crossing their fingers that President Donald Trump's talk of a $1 trillion infrastructure investment is more than a campaign promise.
The $1 trillion wouldn't be in straight grants to states, however, likely consisting of low-cost loans or tax incentives to the private sectors.
Regardless, "we're not going to leave one federal dollar on the table," IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell said.
"We're waiting to see the details."
Here's a look at some construction trouble spots this spring and summer:
• Resurfacing on Lake-Cook Road at Takeda Parkway in Deerfield.
• Resurfacing on Mundhank Road from Barrington Road to Freeman Road in South Barrington.
• Resurfacing on Busse Road from Golf Road to Lonnquist Boulevard in Mount Prospect.
• Resurfacing on Colfax Street from Route 14 to Quentin Road near Inverness.
• Reconstruction of Central Road from Ela Road to Roselle Road in Schaumburg.
• Widening Washington Street from Hainesville to Grayslake.
• Adding lanes on Cedar Lake Road north of Route 120 in Round Lake.
• Resurfacing on Aptakisic Road from Buffalo Grove Road to Route 21 in Buffalo Grove.
• Crossing replacement and road leveling on Winchester Road west of Route 45 in Mundelein.
• Resurfacing on Buffalo Grove Road north of Lake-Cook Road to Route 83 in Buffalo Grove.
• Resurfacing on Saunders Road north of Lake-Cook Road to Deerfield Road near Deerfield.
• Resurfacing on Route 62 from Route 31 to Compton in Algonquin.
• Resurfacing on Rt. 31 from Route 120 to Park Place in McHenry and from Strong Road to Central Park Drive in Crystal Lake.
• Construction of Longmeadow Parkway from Randall Road to Karen Drive in Algonquin.
• Bridge replacement on Bliss Road over Blackberry Creek in Sugar Grove.
• Resurfacing on County Farm Road/Greenbrook Boulevard in Hanover Park and Bartlett.
• Resurfacing on Bloomingdale Road from North Avenue to Geneva Road in Glendale Heights and Glen Ellyn.
• Resurfacing on Raymond Drive from Ferry Road to Ogden Avenue in Naperville.
• Resurfacing on St. Charles Road from Bloomingdale Road to Geneva Road in Glen Ellyn.
• Resurfacing on Ferry Road from River Road to Route 59 in Naperville and Warrenville.
One more thing
Locally, DuPage County residents can expect work to resume at the interchange of York and Irving Park roads in Bensenville, Fox Valley should brace for resurfacing on Route 62 in Algonquin, and Cook County drivers should watch for resurfacing on Busse Road in Mount Prospect.
Lake County drivers will have cause to celebrate later in 2017, when the protracted rebuild of Washington Street from Grayslake to Hainesville ends.
Kane County is witnessing a first, as construction of a local toll road progresses. Longmeadow Parkway, a $135 million, 5.6-mile, four-lane road features a tolled bridge over the Fox River.
The second year of construction involves a segment east from Randall Road in Algonquin.
The Kane County Board is expected to vote this year on tolling the bridge, with fees estimated at 50 cents to 75 cents.