Busy road construction season planned in Lake County
Lake County motorists will face another busy construction season with $109 million in projects planned.
Work in some areas has started or is gearing up. More than 30 projects will be under construction in 2021 for the annual program to preserve, modernize and expand the system.
"We have good examples in all three categories," said Al Giertych, assistant county engineer for the Lake County Division of Transportation.
The list includes a mix of traditional work, such as road resurfacing and widening, as well as innovative measures, such as the installation of signals that adjust to the flow of traffic.
Transportation officials say the 2021 program is comparable to last year. In 2020, contractor payments totaled about $60 million, the second highest in county history, officials said. This year, $53 million in new projects are planned. About $56 million of the 2021 program represents the total cost of six projects that started last year and are carrying over.
Visit lakecountyil.gov/constructionprogram to review current and upcoming projects, an interactive map with project descriptions, breakdowns of work by category and other information.
Big carry-over projects include rebuilding and widening Weiland Road from north of Deerfield Parkway to Aptakisic Road, and Buffalo Grove Road from Route 22 to Deerfield Parkway.
Lake County also will work on the intersections of Lake-Cook Road at Weiland Road and Buffalo Grove Road. Those projects are being done as part of Cook County's widening of Lake-Cook Road to six lanes from near Buffalo Grove Road to near Route 21.
Another carry-over project reduces 14th Street in North Chicago to three lanes from Route 131 to Jackson Street as part of a "road diet" concept aimed at reducing accidents. A roundabout built last year, the sixth in Lake County, was part of that project.
Resurfacing and pedestrian improvements on Millburn/Grass Lake Road from Deep Lake Road to Hunt Club Road are in the works. The work is a follow up to the Millburn Bypass of Route 45, which was completed in 2019.
Construction of a roundabout at Fairfield Road and Monaville Road in Lake Villa Township, the eighth in Lake County, also is on the 2021 list.
Other projects of note include the $13 million widening of the Gilmer/Midlothian Road intersection to include new signals and bike paths, and a planned bicycle bridge over Lake-Cook Road in a multiagency effort to extend the Skokie Valley Bike Path into Cook County.
Road preservation, which includes resurfacing, culvert replacement and bridge repairs, is the priority of the annual program, according to Giertych, making up 61% of the 2021 projects.
Notable resurfacing projects this year include St. Mary's Road from Route 176 in Libertyville to Route 60 in Vernon Hills and Grass Lake Road from Deep Lake Road to west of Route 45 in Lindenhurst. Both are two-lane roads.
As part of those projects, the first rumble strips on county roads will be installed in the center as a test to reduce accidents caused by drunk, drugged, distracted or drowsy drivers.
"It is a known safety improvement and will alert motorists who drift into the centerline to correct their line before a potentially severe crash occurs," said Alex Carr, LCDOT spokesman.
Modernization is the second priority and accounts for 30% of the projects. It includes new traffic signals with "smart roads" technology, for example, and nonmotorized work, such as closing gaps in bike paths and sidewalks.
This year, new traffic signals equipped to monitor and continually adjust the timing to move traffic along the Butterfield Road corridor will be installed from Allanson Road to Route 137 in Vernon Hills, Mundelein and Libertyville.
As part of the project, flashing yellow arrows will be installed on signals at Route 137 to allow motorists to turn left using caution rather than waiting for another signal cycle, Giertych said. That will be a first for Lake County.
LCDOT's last annual priority is road widening, which accounts for 6% of the 2021 projects.
In announcing the 2021 program, Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said $500 million will be invested in transportation over the next six years.
She added that the county is working with state and federal officials to invest in other projects, such as railroad grade separations.
County officials are seeking up to $80 million in federal funding for a railroad underpass on Old McHenry Road in Hawthorn Woods, $18 million for the realignment of Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake, and $10 million for construction of the Patriot Path for bikes along Route 137 from Libertyville to North Chicago.