Millburn Strangler officially vanquished

  • Lake County Engineer Shane Schneider, left, and Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart unveil a sign celebrating the recently opened Route 45 bypass that eliminates what's been known as the "Millburn Strangler."

    Lake County Engineer Shane Schneider, left, and Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart unveil a sign celebrating the recently opened Route 45 bypass that eliminates what's been known as the "Millburn Strangler." Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Construction is wrapping up on the recently-opened U.S. Route 45 bypass that officials say will ease traffic congestion in north central Lake County. This view looks west along the Grass Lake Road alignment.

    Construction is wrapping up on the recently-opened U.S. Route 45 bypass that officials say will ease traffic congestion in north central Lake County. This view looks west along the Grass Lake Road alignment. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart speaks during a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the completion of a long-awaited bypass along U.S. Route 45 bypass that eliminates what's been known as the "Millburn Strangler."

    Lake County Board Chairwoman Sandy Hart speaks during a ceremony Wednesday to celebrate the completion of a long-awaited bypass along U.S. Route 45 bypass that eliminates what's been known as the "Millburn Strangler." Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Old Grass Lake Road now ends just east of the newly-realigned U.S. Route 45 bypass.

    Old Grass Lake Road now ends just east of the newly-realigned U.S. Route 45 bypass. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Cars pass through the intersection of the Route 45 bypass and Grass Lake Road on Wednesday.

    Cars pass through the intersection of the Route 45 bypass and Grass Lake Road on Wednesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Construction is wrapping up on the recently-opened U.S. Route 45 bypass that officials say will ease traffic congestion in north central Lake County. This view looks north along the U.S. 45 alignment.

    Construction is wrapping up on the recently-opened U.S. Route 45 bypass that officials say will ease traffic congestion in north central Lake County. This view looks north along the U.S. 45 alignment. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Construction is wrapping up on the recently-opened U.S. Route 45 bypass that officials say will eliminate the traffic problem known as the Milburn Strangler. This view looks south along the U.S. 45 alignment.

    Construction is wrapping up on the recently-opened U.S. Route 45 bypass that officials say will eliminate the traffic problem known as the Milburn Strangler. This view looks south along the U.S. 45 alignment. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/24/2019 8:37 AM

Construction workers, state, local and county officials, and others gathered Wednesday to mark the completion of a long-sought project to ease congestion in north-central Lake County.

"The Strangler is gone," Lindenhurst Mayor Dominic Marturano said of the notorious choke point at Route 45 and Grass Lake Road that had been known the Millburn Strangler. "It's been part of our daily lives for what seems like forever."

 

The solution is a four-lane, 7,200-foot bypass west of the Millburn Historic District between Country Place to just north of Independence Boulevard in Old Mill Creek and Lindenhurst.

Grass Lake and Milburn roads were realigned and connected at a single intersection and a number of other amenities installed as part of the $31 million project.

Traffic along the bypass began flowing about three weeks ago.

Linda Pedersen, a Lake County Board member from Antioch, recalled being stuck for four or five signals during frustrating commutes.

"Not at red lights. Green lights," she said. "It's a wonderful project, and I'm glad I'm still here to see it."

The county board in 1994 passed a resolution supporting a bypass. But it wasn't until 2011 that the county appropriated the funding from a special regional sales tax to jump-start the stalled project.

"They had the Millburn Strangler at the top of their list," Pedersen said. "Even though it was a state project, they saw the importance of seeing this project come to fruition."

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