Where Lake County is spending $134 million this year to fix roads, or even narrow them
Winter finally is in the rearview mirror, and so begins another season Lake County drivers would prefer to avoid.
Road construction season is resuming after a tough winter, with $134 million in projects planned this year by the Lake County Division of Transportation.
The 2019 program carries a higher dollar value than the last two years' programs and includes the traditional mix of road widening, intersection improvements, culvert replacements, resurfacing and affiliated projects such as sidewalks.
But there are some differences, including the county's sixth roundabout and an inaugural "road diet" project.
"We're in the second year of some really big projects and the first year of some really big projects," Glenn Petko, engineer of construction for LCDOT, said of the added spending.
Four projects started in 2018 are expected to be completed this year: Old McHenry Road in downtown Long Grove, the Wilson/Nippersink intersection near Round Lake, and Quentin Road widening in Kildeer and Lake Zurich.
The Millburn Bypass of Route 45 in Old Mill Creek and Lindenhurst, a state project being funded by Lake County, also is in its second year and expected to be finished.
Those four projects total $46.2 million, with costs being carried over from last year and included in the 2019 program. The 2017 program was $94 million and 2018 was $100 million, according to Petko.
The 2019 plan also features 22 new projects including the reconstruction and widening of Weiland Road from near Lake-Cook Road to south of Deerfield Parkway in Buffalo Grove, adding turn lanes at Hunt Club Road and Route 132 (Grand Avenue) in Gurnee, and adding dual left-turn lanes from southbound Route 12 to eastbound Old McHenry Road near Hawthorn Woods.
For the first time, LCDOT has included a "road diet" project in the annual program. A 1.8-mile-long, four-lane stretch of 14th Street from Green Bay Road (Route 131) to Jackson Street in North Chicago and Waukegan will be reduced to three lanes - one through lane in each direction and a center turn lane.
Traffic volume no longer supports four lanes, Petko said. Reducing the pavement will improve safety and make room for a sidewalk on the south side and a bike path on the north side, he said.
A continuous trail connection between the Greenbelt Forest Preserve and Robert McClory bike path, and the conversion of a four-way stop intersection at Dugdale Street to a roundabout are part of the $16.5 million project.
Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart said investing in transportation improves the quality of life for residents and contributes to economic development.
"We are investing more than $500 million in the transportation system over the next six years, which includes bike paths and other nonmotorized investments, not just roads," she said.
Many of the projects have individual websites that can be found by clocking the "Construction" tab on the LCDOT's main site, www.lakecountyil.gov/191/Transportation. They include timelines, updates, project background and photos.
"The bigger the project the more information that's out there," Petko said. "A lot of times, things have been in the works for many years."