Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Potholes: portals to the center of the Earth

There is a pothole on the Tri-State Tollway in the second-to-rightmost lane, south of the Deerfield Road exit. This pothole is narrow but dangerous. Flying over it at 65 MPH, you’ll barely feel a jostle. But hit it at the “right spot” during the rush hour crawl at 10MPH and it’ll feel like you’ve just driven over a moon crater. This stretch of I-94 is under construction, so the hole should eventually be patched, but be aware.

There’s just something about the Tri-State and potholes. Last winter, several of them opened up between Route 60 and Route 22. There must be something about the paving material, coupled with heavy truck traffic, that makes this road surrender under wintry duress.

Chicago’s potholes are legendary. Potholes resumed their reign of terror over Lake Shore Drive in December, leaving injuries to cars and people in their wake.

Ordinary citizens can fight back by joining Operation Pothole – otherwise known as a web page with links to city, county and state resources. The city is tackling potholes head-on:

[Repair crews are] referencing a new, GPS-based, real-time map of more than 1,000 potholes. The map is based on the same city maps used to fight crime, only this time, the bad guy is the potholes that are phoned in to 311.

As for our lovely suburbs, the pothole problem is generally not as extensive but the buggers are still there. A Route 41 pothole took out my tire on a wet winter night in 2006 (note to motorists: electronic tire pressure monitors are wonderful things).

Lake County potholes can be reported to the municipality, the county, or the state. Provide as much information about the pothole as you can: name of street, name of closest cross-street, number of busted hubcaps lying on the shoulder near it (we call these “the pothole’s way of scrapbooking”) – anything that sticks in mind.

Filed under: Road Conditions, , , ,

Back to work

I can tell that people are heading back to work after holiday vacations because the northbound Tri-State traffic was awful this evening. The southbound drive wasn’t too bad this morning, so I was lulled into a false sense of traffic security and thought to myself “why not take the tollway home instead of the surface streets?”

After several minutes of stop-and-go traffic worsened by a multi-car accident off to the side at Half-Day Road, I exited at Route 60 and decided to take my chances with it and Route 45. Ahh, that route was much better and its traffic moved rather smoothly.

And to think: the full construction workload resumes soon, so things will only get slower on the Tri-State. For me, “back to work” means back to avoiding the Tri-State during rush hour.

Filed under: Commuting, I-94, , ,

Tollway construction suspended for the holidays

The Illinois Tollway is giving motorists the gift of open lanes for the holidays. According to their press release, construction will be suspended from noon on Friday, December 21, to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, December 26, and from noon on Friday, December 28, to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2, 2008. However, this does not mean that you can resume driving “94(MPH) on 94”. Construction-zone speed limits remain in effect even if no workers are visible.

Drivers crossing the Wisconsin state line or venturing to Gurnee Mills will be pleased with this news:

Drivers on the north end of the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) between Grand Avenue and Russell Road will benefit from completed work to rebuild and widen the southbound lanes, with traffic scheduled to return to the standard three lane configuration on new pavement in time for the holiday weekend. Northbound traffic also will be shifted off the shoulder and back to the standard configuration before the weekend.

Filed under: Congestion Relief, Roads, , ,

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