After decades of talk, Cedar Lake Road realignment has momentum
Residents, businesses and others with an interest in what happens to Cedar Lake Road through Round Lake will be brought up to speed Wednesday as the long-sought project to realign the thoroughfare slowly moves forward.
Mayor Dan MacGillis isn't on the edge of his seat just yet, but he's optimistic that an idea that surfaced when his dad was mayor in 1961 is gathering momentum.
"This has been a topic just about since I was alive," he said. "It's as close as we've ever come to having the realignment happen. It's in motion."
Anyone interested can examine exhibits of existing conditions, ask questions about the project and give input from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday during an open house at the Round Lake public works building, 751 W. Townline Road.
The session is being hosted by the Lake County Division of Transportation, which is in the first phase of a study that will determine costs and impacts of the project, leading up to the determination of a preferred route.
Last fall, the Lake County Board authorized a contract for $766,466 for preliminary engineering -- what is known as Phase 1 -- of the realignment. That part of the process is expected to take about 2½ years.
It includes analysis of different alignments, land acquisition, drainage and environmental impacts, as well as public meetings and forming a stakeholder group. There are three realignment possibilities to be considered.
Avon Township Supervisor Terry Wilke, also the Lake County Board member representing the area, described the Cedar Lake Road issue as "our own little version of the Route 53 project."
"That is why the excitement for this project is so high," he said.
The scope of the project includes removing the existing Cedar Lake Road railroad crossing and building a new one to the west, along with relocating the train station to an undetermined location. It also involves six side street relocations and configurations.
Besides improving traffic flow, a realigned Cedar Lake Road could have other benefits, according to MacGillis, who has been advocating for the project since he was elected in 2013.
"The new road might provide a stimulus for economic development," MacGillis said. It also could increase the amount of traffic, which would work in the village's favor in terms of development related to a new train station, he said.
In a separate and unrelated project, Cedar Lake Road south of Nippersink to Route 120 is closed through the end of August for culvert work in advance of road widening next year.