IDOT project at Route 41 and Grand in Gurnee delayed until late 2020
The massive intersection improvement project at Grand Avenue and Route 41 that has snarled traffic in Gurnee since April 2017 has been delayed and won't be completed now until late 2020, according to IDOT.
The project, which was originally slated for completion this summer, experienced unforeseen design changes, according to IDOT spokesman Guy Tridgell on Wednesday.
"We understand that no one likes construction and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused," Tridgell said.
"But we believe the permanent benefits of improved safety and additional capacity will be worth it in the long run."
The IDOT project includes widening Grand Avenue and adding new turn lanes.
When the roadwork is completed, drivers will benefit from synchronized signals in both directions of Grand and Route 41, unlike the current staggered setup in which traffic lights are red for one side of the street and green on the other, causing backups.
Tridgell said Grand Avenue is currently one lane in each direction and will need to stay that way likely for the remainder of 2019.
One of the biggest challenges for IDOT engineers is the nearby railroad bridge, which is being replaced as part of the project.
Tridgell said the Union Pacific Railroad is operating on a temporary bridge that will need to be demolished once the new bridge is constructed.
"We are hopeful that can still take place by the end of this year, allowing us to finish rebuilding the pavement on Grand Avenue," Tridgell said.
Mayor Kristina Kovarik said the IDOT project was extremely ambitious.
"I don't think this is going to appease the public, but when you're talking about a big steel span that carries thousands of trains, you want to get it right," said Kovarik of the railroad bridge delay.
"It's better to catch it now than open the whole intersection up and find out there's a problem."
Along with dealing further delays to drivers, the additional months of construction will likely also inflict pain on business owners on the east side of Gurnee.
"The village is doing everything we can to encourage people to shop at the businesses over there," Kovarik said.
The village has invested in beautifying the East Grand corridor the last three years.
Last year, the village staff decided to relaunch a farmers market in the parking lot in front of the Salvation Army Thrift Store and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, just southeast of the intersection of Grand and Belle Plaine avenues.