Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

48 roadwork projects get greenlighted in Lake County

Lake County is kicking 48 roadwork projects into gear. Funding will come from the quarter-cent transportation tax approved during the mass transit “doomsday” crisis of Winter ’08. Included are several key projects County residents have been eagerly anticipating. A few thoughts on those with which I am familiar:

1) Widening of Route 21 from 137 to Route 120 in Libertyville and Gurnee 

This is a major southbound bottleneck during the morning commute. Glad to see it’s on the list.

2) Widening of Routes 60, 60/83 and 45 in the Mundelein and Vernon Hills area

Yes! What a bottleneck. Route 68/83 even made my list of the ten worst Lake County backups (as the “Route 83 Rather-Not”).

3) Extension of Cedar Lake Road from Route 120 to Route 60 in Round Lake

This appears to have been the plan for a while, so let’s go for it!

4) Widening of Delany Road from Tanahill Drive to York House Road

The Delaney morning delay is awful, and the left-turn signal onto U.S. Route 41 never seems to last long enough. Widening is great, but can something be done about this intersection?

5) Widening of Washington Street from Hunt Club Road to Cemetery Road in Gurnee

Also much needed. Washington needs all the capacity it can get.

I haven’t experienced rush hour at the “Millburn Strangler” on Route 45, but having driven in the area I can understand how cars could stack up there.

6) Widening of Washington Street from Lake Street to Hainesville Road in Grayslake

Currently, traffic narrows from two lanes to one west of Lake Street, right before reaching the Metra tracks and Washington Street Metra station. It’s an evening commute bottleneck.

Projects about which I’m not so sure:

Intersection expansion and improvement at Wadsworth Road and Route 41 in Wadsworth. This one can be congested westbound during the morning rush if a train interferes, but there are much more congested intersections than this one; how’d it make the list?

Not sure if an underpass at Fairfield, Route 134 and the Metra tracks in Round Lake is as traffic-essential as the other projects.

The News Swami has a witty take on the whole mess of affairs, along with suggestions as to what projects should be added to the list. I heard a rumor that the repaving of the dark side of the moon – I mean, Grand Avenue near Gurnee Mills – has been given a “go”, but haven’t a link to share to prove it.

Filed under: Congestion Relief, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Road Week Ahead: June 2 – June 6

Here’s what’s on tap for Lake County commuters this week: Construction zone speeding crackdown, roadwork gets the green light, and don’t forget your rain gear.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Commuting, , , , , , , ,

Lake Forest employees: Act now to retain Metra shuttle

From Stuckonsixty.com:

The trial run of the [privately run] shuttle service [from Conway Park businesses] to the west Lake Forest train station is scheduled to end on March 13, unless sufficient ridership is generated to justify the service and expense longer-term.

This shuttle supports Milwaukee District North line running between Fox Lake and Chicago.

Please encourage your colleagues to use the shuttle and METRA.

The shuttle’s schedule is available here. This privately run shuttle, along with the Stuckonsixty.com website, is an example of businesses banding together to provide convenience and added benefit to their employees.

Filed under: Commuting, , , , ,

Website keeps Rt. 60-area employees in the loop

Stuckonsixty.com is a highly targeted, hyperlocal website. With the tagline of “Your traffic information link for Lake Forest, Mettawa and Surrounding Communities,” the site covers transportation news related to the Route 60 corridor surrounding the Tri-State Tollway.

Much of the content centers around the Conway Park office plaza (now that’s hyperlocal!), and the site is sponsored by the Business Partners Transportation Committee of Lake Forest and Mettawa. The BPTC worked with the ISTHA to have a temporary highway entrance ramp built, allowing direct access from Conway Park to the northbound Tri-State during the Tollway Rebuild and Widen project.

The Conway Park area is home to several companies, as well as the Chicago Bears’ training facility and executive offices. Commercial real estate construction is robust. Two hotels are on the way, located west of the Tri-State.

The Stuck on Sixty website provides timelines, photos of the construction in various stages, maps, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to area transportation websites.

Overall, stuckonsixty.com is an excellent example of using the Web to keep employees, residents and clients up-to-date on transportation issues in a centralized manner. Current transportation information is crucial during long-term road construction in order to reduce commuter headaches and encourage use of alternate routes.

Additional coverage: Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune, October 2007

Filed under: Commuting, , , ,

The mystery of the crappy commute

Yesterday’s post concluded with me musing as to whether I’d “train it” or “drive it” today. Train or car, which would win the battle of the morning transportation choice?

The winner was: Car. Car because I had a few things to do after work, one of which was possibly attending the Route 120 meeting. Car because Car might have been lonely while I opted for Train all week. But not long after choosing Car this morning, I discovered that Train – even Super Late Train – would have been the better choice.

It must have been Accident Day, for the streets were lousy with ’em. “Tomith” (The Other Motorist In The House) phoned me from Route 83 to report that Route 60 was closed. Closed! To AM 1620 I went, seeking details. Apparently there was a building on fire on Route 60 and the authorities shut down the road.

Aside from the fire, I remember several reports of accidents, stalls and various slowdowns looping endlessly on AM 1620. Gilmer Road was a veritable magnet for motor incidents. There was no fresh snow on the roads this uncommonly sunny morning. Some chain of unfortunate events must have been set into motion, possibly caused by a) potholes b) black ice c) impatient drivers tired of winter road conditions d) all of the above or e) oh, let’s say, rabbit zombies. Something that may not even exist.

The mystery shall remain partially solved, as tomorrow brings a new commute and another opportunity to miss the train – I mean, catch the train. My budget can only handle so many “errands” at a time.

Filed under: Commuting, , ,

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