Roadwork will tie up traffic in downtown Long Grove for months
Dual projects will make getting around downtown Long Grove difficult in coming months, but village officials and business owners say the inconvenience will be worth the long-term benefit.
The pending reconstruction of Old McHenry Road, with associated work including new sidewalks and installation of streetlights, will be a particular challenge for the little village during its three big-themed festivals and other events that draw visitors from throughout the suburbs.
"We're ready to do whatever it takes for a year," said Kendra Perri, a member of the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association. "The attitude has been it will be worth it in the end."
The $3.8 million project calls for reconstruction of Old McHenry Road from the Long Grove Fire Protection District station north of Route 53 to the shared entrance drive to the village hall and Kildeer Countryside School south of Cuba Road.
"That's a pretty big project just because it's in the downtown, especially in an older, unique area like that," said Chuck Gleason, project manager for the Lake County Division of Transportation. "We're going to come in and basically modernize everything."
Curbs and gutters will replace an open ditch to address long-standing drainage issues, and the stop sign at Robert Parker Coffin Road will be replaced with a traffic signal.
The project also calls for streetscape upgrades, including sidewalks on both sides of Old McHenry Road and lighting through the downtown area.
An open house-style public information meeting on the project is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, at the Kildeer Countryside Elementary school, 3100 Old McHenry Road. Visit lakecountyil.gov for project details and to sign up for email updates.
"It will be painful going through it but the payoff is going to be very important for the downtown," Village Manager David Lothspeich said.
Traffic will remain open during construction, which is scheduled to begin in April, but the potential disruption is sensitive enough that the festival lineup was plugged into the contract so work is wrapped up Wednesday of a given week in advance of festivities.
Finishing in a timely matter is another key.
"That's one of the things the village and county were adamant about -- this project had to be done during a single construction season," he added.
In a separate but related project, the village will begin installing a public water main today in advance of the road project.
The water main project is scheduled to end May 26, and work hours will be limited to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to avoid rush hours.
Adding the traffic signal and extending water will make the area more accessible for visitors and attractive to food-oriented businesses, such as brew pubs or restaurants. The old sidewalks are uneven and bumpy, making it hard for moms to push strollers or those with disabilities to navigate, Lothspeich said.
"Aesthetically, it will look much nicer than it does now but it will also function much better because it will have public water," he added.