Lake County's new 5-year transportation plan shows $670 million in projects
You've had ample opportunity to see Lake County roadwork up close this season, but there's more to it than an occasional delay or detour.
Did you know, for example, the Lake County Division of Transportation has about 62 miles of bike lanes and paths under its jurisdiction and considers nonmotorized travel a high priority?
Residents and commuters now can get a detailed look at ongoing and planned roadwork and other elements besides pavement resurfacing or widening that go into a comprehensive program and why they're included.
The $670 million 2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Program, posted this week by Lake County DOT, is a rolling five-year snapshot of what's happening and what's coming up. However, the plan has an asterisk as transportation officials expect revenues for local projects to decrease for at least the next 18 months.
How much is unknown and whether any state or federal recovery funds will be made available to bridge the gap is uncertain at this point.
"If no additional recovery funding is made available to offset revenue losses, some projects will need to be delayed for a construction season or longer," said Shane Schneider, LCDOT director.
But the program as presented assumes normal funding, which keeps priority projects on the radar and advancing toward construction, Schneider said.
What long has been known as the five-year Highway Improvement Program has been a constant, although there are some new wrinkles.
For example, it has been renamed to show the focus is beyond improving or widening roads, and there are other new elements.
Among them are an interactive dashboard, which allows visitors to quickly see projects programmed in the next five years on a map.
Other features are more behind the scenes, such as where funding comes from and where it goes, transportation priorities and rationale for what is done, categories of work and breakdown by type.
Visitors can click on a current project and view a description and location on a map or follow links to ongoing, completed and future projects.
Projects are broken down into four categories. Preservation, such as resurfacing, is the top priority. Modernization focuses on reducing delays and increasing safety. Nonmotorized projects add bike paths, bike friendly shoulders and fill sidewalk gaps. The final category, expansion projects, involve adding lanes or building a new road.
Most road projects take several years to move from planning to construction, which makes the 5-year plan a continual process that is updated annually. Many projects are in varying points of readiness and may be carried forward from year to year.
The 2020-2025 program incorporates funding from the Rebuild Illinois capital bill, including nearly $24 million for 2020-2022.
That money has been committed to large projects, such as the reconstruction of Arlington Heights Road, and widening and railroad grade separation at Quentin Road and Old McHenry Road, that otherwise would have taken much longer to be done, according to county officials.
In the event of a revenue shortfall, LCDOT has identified four projects to be delayed if no additional funding becomes available:
• Roundabout at Fairfield Road and Monaville Road in Lake Villa Township.
• Intersection improvements at Gilmer Road and Midlothian Road in Hawthorn Woods.
• Intersection and corridor improvements on Route 59 and Grand Avenue in Fox Lake.
• Widening Route 120 to add a center-turn lane from Knight Avenue to Route 131 in Park City and Waukegan.