Virtual public input sought on Route 83/137 project
State road planners seek input as big improvement plans for an 11-mile stretch of Route 83 and Route 137 in north central Lake County move toward a key point.
But rather than host a public meeting, the Illinois Department of Transportation has introduced an interactive website to share details and accept comment on what would be a huge project.
Visitors can watch a 28-minute video overview, browse an interactive map and make comments. Those received by July 16 will become part of the official record.
Route 83 is a main north-south corridor used by 13,600 to 22,200 vehicles per day, depending on the location. It varies from two through lanes with turn lanes at points to five lanes.
Improving travel and safety has been under study since 2012. The study area is on Route 83 from Route 132 (Grand Avenue) in Lake Villa through Round Lake Beach and Grayslake to Route 137, and south on Route 137 to east of Route 45 in Libertyville.
The preferred alternative generally envisions a four-lane road with varying median types, adding shoulders and turning access for businesses and residents. Sidewalks and multiuse paths also would be installed.
The project is divided into three segments with options for each. The north section is Route 132 to Washington Street, central is Washington to Route 120, and south is Route 120 to Route 137 to just east of Route 45.
Two sections of Route 83 are not included in this study: at Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, and at Atkinson Road in Grayslake.
Route 83 was widened as part of the enormous Rollins Gateway project completed about five years ago. A separate project will realign Route 83 and the Atkinson Road intersection.
"The existing (Route) 83 intersection will basically be abandoned and you'll have a new intersection," said Brett Kryska, Grayslake's assistant village manager.
That project covers 1.14 miles from Route 120 to Atkinson Road and is scheduled to be bid by IDOT in June 2021, he said. IDOT lists $16.6 million for the new road, intersection, land acquisition and other elements in its 2020-25 Rebuild Illinois highway program for Lake County.
Public meetings on the Route 83/137 study were held in March 2012 and May 2016. Comments included concerns with noise and impacts on houses, and opinions regarding raised medians and center lane turn options.
There also have been four community advisory group meetings composed of residents, businesses and property owners.
The project is nearing the end of Phase 1. A public hearing for comment on the preferred alternative and environmental assessment will be held before the project moves to Phase II, according to IDOT spokeswoman Maria Castaneda.
The public hearing is anticipated in late 2020 or early 2021 based on COVID-19 restrictions and whether IDOT can offer it virtually, she said.
Phase II, involving detailed design and land acquisition, is funded, according to IDOT. Construction funding has not been identified.
Besides the website, outreach will include a newsletter mailed to impacted residents and an opportunity ask questions of IDOT staff at (847) 636-2343.