Three roundabouts in the works for Darrell Road near Wauconda, Lakemoor

The upcoming road construction season in Lake County will include the first part of a project involving three roundabouts along Darrell Road from Fisher to Case roads in Wauconda Township.

The Lake County Board today is expected to appropriate $8.1 million for construction and approve a project manager at a maximum cost of about $693,000 for the first phase of the Darrell Road corridor project.

Darrell Road is on the far western side of Lake County and is used as a shortcut to routes 12 or 176.

However, some local roads intersect with Darrell at acute angles, creating dangerous conditions and resulting in about four dozen crashes over a five-year span.

County transportation officials have been considering ways to address an expected increase in traffic and improve safety in the area for several years. The first of four public information sessions was held in 2015, and the last was held virtually in April 2021.

"We did a significant amount of public outreach," said Shane Schneider, director of the Lake County Division of Transportation and county engineer.

In the first phase of the project, Darrell Road will be rebuilt for 1.3 miles and Case Road will be realigned to create a four-way intersection with Neville Road with a roundabout in the middle.

The second part of the project, planned for 2024, will be a separate appropriation at a later time. It calls for Dowell Road to be realigned to intersect Darrell at a right angle and a roundabout. A third roundabout will be built at Fisher Road to the north.

"The big thing here is we're squaring up the intersections," Schneider explained last week at the county board's public works and transportation committee meeting.

Roundabouts were selected because traffic signals create greater impacts and costs due to longer approaches and project limits and have been shown to improve safety where installed, according to LCDOT.

A before and after comparison at three locations showed all crashes were reduced by 46% and injury and fatal crashes reduced by 85%.

There currently are eight roundabouts in Lake County. The first was installed in 2010 at Riverwoods and Everett roads near Lincolnshire.

The overall project also calls for a shared-use bike path to be built on the east side of Darrell between and through the roundabouts at Fisher and Case roads.

Schneider said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at some point plans to build a section of the Grand Illinois Trail through the area. The Black Crown Marsh State Natural Area is on the west side of Darrell at Fisher Road.

Some committee members asked if the shared-use path could be built farther north and/or south as part of the Darrell Road projects.

Schneider said the path is contained within the project limit and extending it would take five to eight years for planning, design and land acquisition.

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The Lake County Board is expected today to appropriate $8.1 million for improvements on Darrell Road in Wauconda Township. The two-part project involves three roundabouts, squaring up intersection angles at Case and Dowell roads, and a multiuse path. Courtesy of Lake County Division of Transportation
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