Lake County's 5-year transportation plan includes $696 million for 333 projects
Lake County officials are poised to adopt a five-year transportation plan that envisions spending $696 million on 333 projects.
Most of the 2022-2027 Transportation Improvement Program involves construction work of some type. But there is more to the plan than resurfacing or widening roads, officials say.
"These projects will improve safety, reduce congestion and expand our nonmotorized network," said Shane Schneider, county engineer and director of transportation.
Initiatives such as installing rumble strips along the center and edges of all county roads with a 45 mph speed limit and for all new projects, for example, are part of the wide-ranging plan to be adopted Tuesday by the Lake County Board.
Rumble strips have been proven to reduce head-on and run-off-the-road collisions, Schneider said.
Every year, county engineers throughout Illinois are required by state law to prepare an updated five-year transportation plan. The document is intended as a guide and serves as a preliminary schedule for longer-term improvements and maintenance.
LCDOT focuses its work on three categories: preservation, modernization, and expansion.
Preservation keeps the road network in good working condition, and modernization involves upgrades like intersection improvements, adding bike paths or using technology to help traffic flow.
Expansion, such as road widening, accounts for about 24% of the overall spending plan, according to Schneider.
Preservation is the top priority, he said.
Each year, LCDOT using sophisticated software, tests about a quarter of its roads for strength and durability to determine the most cost-effective strategy to proceed.
Schneider said in previous presentations that the $696 million figure includes about $130 million in costs that have been carried forward from recent years.
The Millburn Bypass in the Lindenhurst area, for example, was complete in 2019.
"We're still carrying the cost of that project on our books because we haven't received invoices," he said.
The 2022 program, for example, is $90 million and includes big projects carried over from last year and a mix of new ones, including 48 miles of road resurfacing, nearly 12 miles of new or widened pavement, and bridge and culvert replacements as well as bike path connections.
Revenue from five sources provides about $80 million a year for programming. Among them, the 4-cent per gallon Lake County gas tax, which became effective July 1, 2021, is projected to generate about $75 million through 2027, he said.
Specific future projects programmed with that money include the realignment of Cedar Lake Road in Round Lake at $24 million; modernization of Lewis Avenue from Route 120 to Route 137 in North Chicago at $20 million; and reconstruction of Arlington Heights Road from Lake-Cook Road to Route 83 at $17 million.
The five-year plan calls for $72 million for nonmotorized projects, including 45 miles of bike paths, with many more envisioned in the longer term.
Expansion projects are typically the largest and most expensive, Schneider said.
"We don't have any new expansion projects in the (2022-2027) program but are continuing to add funding allocations to the projects we already have," he said.
The biggest is Old McHenry Crossings in the Hawthorn Woods, Long Grove, Kildeer area, which could top $100 million. That project involves dealing with the confluence of four major highways and a rail crossing.
Information about the five-year plan will be available at the projects tab at lakecountyil.gov/191/Transportation.