Deerfield Road widening and key multiuse path connections in Lake County moving forward
Key actions on two big projects to improve safety and nonmotorized travel in the Grayslake and Deerfield areas are set to advance in Lake County.
The larger one involves a recommendation to the county board to appropriate $7.5 million to acquire 41 properties needed to widen about two miles of Deerfield Road from Route 21 (Milwaukee Avenue) to Saunders Road.
The other is a $417,166 contract to produce plans and bid documents for a sidewalk and a 1.4-mile multiuse path to close a strategic gap along Washington Street in central Lake County between Grayslake and Gurnee.
Once complete, there will be nearly seven miles of continuous bike network along Washington Street from Round Lake to Gurnee, officials say.
Neither project will be built in 2023. But recommended actions Wednesday by the county board's public works and transportation committee are needed before the projects can be put out for competitive bids and built.
As planned, Deerfield Road would be widened from two to three lanes. An 8-foot wide bike path also would be installed on either end of a short existing path.
"This will allow a lot of people safe access to the Des Plaines River Trail they didn't have before," said Ann Maine, a board member from Lincolnshire and committee vice chair.
Deerfield Road is two lanes with several residential driveways having access. Planning to relieve congestion and improve safety by reducing accidents along the stretch began in 2016, according to Shane Schneider, director of the Lake County Division of Transportation and county engineer.
LCDOT secured $28 million in federal funding for the estimated $35 million to $40 million project. As part of that process, federal officials last fall approved the design.
"This is a big project. There's a lot of congestion here," Schneider told the committee.
About 20,000 vehicles a day travel this stretch of Deerfield Road. A 36-minute afternoon rush commute along the stretch will be reduced to 6 minutes when the project complete, he said.
Schneider said 352 crashes -- 100 involving injuries -- have been reported the past five years. That number, particularly rear-end crashes, will be reduced, he added.
There are many trees along Deerfield Road and "the community is not necessarily very happy," about the plan, Maine said. However, LCDOT listened to the concerns before settling on the three-lane design.
"I appreciate that," she said.
Land acquisition likely will continue into early 2024 with the bid letting later in the year and construction in 2025, Schneider said.
The committee also recommended approval of a $417,166 contract with BLA Inc., of Itasca to complete design for a sidewalk between Sextant and Mainsail drives and a multiuse bike path installation essentially from Mainsail to Almond Road.
The estimated total cost is about $3 million not including land acquisition, Schneider said. Construction could be done in 2024 or 2025 depending on land acquisition, he added.