Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Leaping out of a snowy February

The 35 snowfall events of winter 2008 received plenty of press on Thursday. A snowy February is finally making its exit, so it’s time to see what the (near) future may hold, weather-wise, for Chicagoland.

From the Farmer’s Almanac: March will come in like the proverbial lion, with stormy conditions predicted for the Great Lakes region.

From the Old Farmer’s Almanac (not to be confused with the Farmer’s Almanac): The heaviest snowfall periods, like the month of February, should be over. Winter was predicted to be warmer and drier than usual. No specs on March, but wet snow is predicted for April.

From NOAA: Precipitation, low temperatures – basically, more February. History bears out that the weather will improve…eventually.

What does all of this mean for motorists? A snow-flecked commute may be in order for Friday. Nature’s car wash (rain) may greet us within a week, or it may still fall from the sky as snow. To stay abreast of this weather wackiness, consult your Weather Forecast Beacon.

Stay warm and dry, and “welcome, March!”

Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Road salt shortage is a shared experience

A city that will “start rationing its road salt as its supplier is running low after a snowy winter that isn’t even finished yet.”

A city switching to a sand/salt mixture or a “grit/salt mixture” in order to keep its streets and walkways usable.

Is it another Lake County suburb?

Actually, it’s Ottawa, Canada, a city located in a country that seems to have perfected The Art of Winter. Ottawa’s snowfall so far this winter is 30% higher than their average for an entire season. Sound familiar?

Canada, a source of road salt for many communities across the northern U.S., is struggling to keep up with salt demand and communities are rationing what little they have left.

If there is solace in company, we have it with our northern neighbors.

The snowy roads looked much better when viewed from the window of the Metra train on Tuesday. I don’t know about the condition of Route 60 or Route 83 yesterday, but my rail road was clear and speedy. I did notice that my local streets were in good shape Tuesday night, so a hearty “Good job!” goes to the salt-starved county and village.

Filed under: Road Conditions, ,

Gurnee is sorry for running out of road salt

Following the 2007 snow season in which Gurnee was slammed for not plowing roads properly, egg met face again with Gurnee’s salt shortage and announcement that only major streets and intersections would be salted. Not only was that the plan, but it appears to have been the action as well.

Granted, several municipalities suffered from salt shortages this year, but the bad press just keeps piling up in Gurnee. Last Monday, Mayor Kristina Kovarik issued an official apology for all the trouble.

That’s last week’s news, though. This Monday, more snow fell on Gurnee and surrounding suburbs. Weather forecasters are predicting up to six inches of snow by early Tuesday. What can residents expect by way of snow removal? Did the river thaw enough for the salt barge to wiggle through and deliver its precious cargo of ice-melting magic?

Cheer up, Gurnee. We understand. At least you acknowledged resident frustration and made plans for a plan, so to speak.

Filed under: Road Conditions, ,

Pothole mid-season update

With another wintry mix in the short-term forecast, it should be noted that winter is far from over and potholes are still in bloom.

Call ’em out: Grayslake allows motorists to report pothole sightings via the village’s website. The website indicates that this online reporting service is for Grayslake residents, and the form asks for your identifying information including name and address. If you report a pothole and are not a Grayslake resident, what would the village do? I don’t know. Nevertheless, Grayslake joins Highland Park in making an online pothole reporting form available.

Potholes next door: Although this site’s primary focus is Lake County, it has a few McHenry County readers. We are neighbors, after all. If any of those neighbors happen to know which municipality maintains Route 31 in the Fox River Valley area, please tell them that the potholes in the valley are numerous and deep, and in need of repair.

Found a pothole and don’t know who to tell? You can always tell the press. Post about it on Pioneer Press‘ Lake County blog, and perhaps help someone else avoid tire damage. Read and learn from pothole reports sent to the Lake County News-Sun. If you know who’s in charge of the rocky road and want to tell them directly, refer to this January 2008 post for some links.

Filed under: Road Conditions, , , , ,

Road Week Ahead: February 25 – February 29

Here’s what’s on tap for Lake County commuters this leap week.

Illinois Tollway construction update: Monday morning marks the start of a new traffic pattern on the northern Tri-State Tollway. As part of the ongoing Rebuild and Widen project, traffic shifts and preparations for a southbound counterflow lane began February 22. Starting in March, one lane of southbound traffic will be temporarily shifted onto the northbound side.

Two right lanes on the northbound Tri-State will be closed between Duffy Lane and Route 176 from 7 PM Monday night to 8 AM Tuesday morning. Also scheduled for Monday night are northbound single-lane closures between Route 137 and Stearns School Road. All other construction continues as planned.

The Illinois DOT construction update report doesn’t reflect this, but those Half-Day Road log cabins were finally torn down a few weeks ago. I haven’t driven that route in a while and was unaware of their disappearance. I also didn’t realize they were the source of so much chatter in Lincolnshire, but I’m new to these parts.

Here’s the Lake County DOT roadwork update report. Several projects currently on hold for winter will start up in a few weeks.

Interstate 94 weather report. Snow showers are predicted for Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday’s temps will be abnormally frigid.

Got a road tip? Click here to send it (opens in a new window).

Filed under: Roads, , , , , , ,

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