Cedar Lake Road realignment project across Round Lake takes a detour
Planning for a long sought-after project to realign Cedar Lake Road and alleviate traffic problems in downtown Round Lake has been diverted due to the presence of historic properties.
The project will eliminate a curve and straighten Cedar Lake Road between Nippersink Road and Hart Road to reduce traffic delays and improve access and safety for Metra commuters, transport officials said.
But a needed change in roster has widened the project’s scope by $ 22 million and will extend preliminary engineering until next summer. The change comes after the Illinois Department of Transportation determined that eight buildings, mostly houses, in the Eastern Alignment area are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lake County Transport and Village officials were on board with a route east of the Village Hall on Cedar Lake Road. But the discovery of the IDOT means the route will move west from the town hall, requiring new items and additional pre-work.
âCritical information emerged after we presented the (east) alignment to the state historic preservation office,â said Shane Schneider, director of the Lake County transportation division and county engineer.
“They (the structures) are going to be considered historic and therefore federal and state demands dictate that we must avoid them at all costs,” he added.
A state agency review is required because the county seeks federal funding, which is administered by IDOT. The agency is also involved as the realigned road from Cedar Lake will cross Route 134, a national highway.
Moving the alignment to the west will expand the project to include approximately three kilometers of road and lead to other changes, such as the relocation of the platform at the Metra commuter train station.
Last week, the Lake County Board of Directors agreed to pay engineering firm Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Inc. an additional $ 554,656 for additional work associated with the new route. The Aurora firm was hired in October 2016 for $ 766,446.
By initially hiring a consultant, LCDOT focused east on a shorter route requiring the least amount of overall road works. The idea was to keep engineering costs down and avoid having to commit to additional funds that might not have been needed to complete the preliminary study.
But we knew that the preferred corridor could change when a full environmental study was carried out as part of the federal funding process, according to LCDOT.
The first part of the preliminary study consists of researching the environmental impacts and choosing a corridor.
None of the properties in the Eastern Corridor were listed in the national register and therefore were not identified during the cursory examination during the feasibility study, according to the LCDOT.
âIt’s like you’re remodeling your kitchen – once you get in there, other things show up,â said Chuck Gleason, project manager. “The bottom line, of course, is that they didn’t know what was going to happen.”
The discovery of the state meant that the eastern route was out.
âThis is still a very valuable project that enjoys the support of the community and stakeholders, but we had to make some pretty big changes and this is the reason for the extent of the additional work,â said Schneider to county officials.
This includes elevating Cedar Lake Road seven feet to reach the height of the crossing and extending work along Highway 134 and other roads to mix up slopes.
In addition, 1,500 feet of railway line will have to be relocated and a new suburban parking lot built along Route 134.
âThe Village is grateful and excited to move forward,â said Round Lake Village Administrator Steven Shields. “There are major traffic issues (and) that should help tremendously.”
The study is expected to be completed in June. A final public hearing will take place before the findings are submitted to IDOT. Detailed plans would be drawn up and land acquisition would follow, with construction tentatively scheduled for 2024.
The idea of ââstraightening Cedar Lake Road first surfaced in the 1960s, when it was under state jurisdiction. IDOT did some preliminary studies in the 1980s, but plans did not move forward.
In 2012, jurisdiction was transferred to Lake County.
A feasibility study determined that one project was still possible and several corridors identified.