Officials hail relief for Lake Cook Road ‘chokepoint’ in Deerfield
BY KAREN BERKOWITZ email@example.com @KarenABerkowitz November 29, 2013 12:56PM
Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal offers thanks to those who kept the Lake Cook/Waukegan construction project on the fast track.| Karen Berkowitz/Sun Times Media
Updated: January 29, 2014 3:23AM
Motorists traveling around Lake Cook and Waukegan roads have been cheering a return to normalcy for weeks now.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, suburban and Cook County officials took time to mark the end of a fast-tracked construction project, which at times created one-lane bottlenecks at the corner used by 40,000 vehicles per day.
“The project will provide relief to a well-known choke point for north suburban traffic,” said Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president, speaking from a lectern set up in the parking lot of a local church.
The construction manager, A Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc., had a strong incentive to complete the work ahead of the Oct. 26 target date, a $17,500-a-day bonus. The firm would have been penalized the same amount for each day past that date.
“We were on an accelerated pace here,” said Holly Cichy, chief engineer for the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways. “We got this done in a five-month window, which is remarkable. The contractor, A Lamp, worked back-to-back shifts at times with night operations so we could minimize the day-to-day inconveniences for businesses.”
The lighter night traffic also provided more efficient working conditions for construction crews.
The project, which started in April, widened Lake Cook Road from four to six lanes between Deer Lake Road and Ellendale/Birchwood Road and added turning lanes at key approaches on both Lake Cook and Waukegan. Traffic signals also were modernized.
Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said when discussions began about tackling the eastern portion of Lake Cook Road so soon after completion of the western portion, village officials were hesitant.
“We said, ‘We can’t do this to our businesses again,’” Rosenthal said.
The county agreed to push off the project one year.
“Then we said, ‘We need a faster project.’”
The timetable was condensed into five months and signs were added to direct motorists to revised driveway approaches to local businesses. The project had its own website to keep motorists and businesses apprised of progress and promote the establishments impacted by the construction.
“We think this project was worth any short-term inconvenience,” Preckwinkle said. “It will reduce congestion, improve safety, provide better access to businesses and allow workers in the corporate complexes just to the west of here to reach their destinations more quickly.”
Others in attendance included Northbrook Village President Sandra Frum and Aaron Lawlor, president of the Lake County Board of Commissioners.