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Record Lake County road building boom planned

New lanes under constructiMilwaukee Avenue between Rt. 137 just south Belvidere Road. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

New lanes under construction on Milwaukee Avenue between Rt. 137 and just south of Belvidere Road. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 17, 2013 7:50PM

Lake County will be seeing the busiest road construction season in the history of the county this spring following action by county officials Tuesday.

“This year we will do more roadwork than we’ve ever done,” said Barry Burton, county administrator, explaining to the County Board that many of the projects have been in the pipeline for four years.

County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor of Vernon Hills said the total road budget for 2013 is $100 million and officials are planning on spending $500 million over the next five years. “This is the largest road program we ever had to ease traffic congestion,” he said.

Most of the money is from the quarter-cent sales tax that can be used for transportation or public safety.

“The county has committed to use those revenues for road projects and nothing else,” he said. Despite the size of the projects, the County Board kept the county tax levy flat for the first time in years, even though they could have raised it 3 percent.

The 2013 budget is $2.6 million less than last year’s budget and $19.4 million less than it was in 2009. He said Lake County also continues to maintain AAA bond rating, the highest credit rating possible, from both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

Lawlor also said officials have elected to pay for reconstruction on state roads, although the state still administers the projects, such as the Milwaukee Avenue and Route 137 road widening project in Libertyville. “We felt it was in our best interest to make critical improvements to move traffic,” Lawlor said.

The biggest project is the $19 million intersection improvement at Fairfield Road and Route 176. The improvements include the reconstruction and widening of Fairfield Road and Route 176 from one lane to two lanes for all four legs, the installation of new traffic signals, and the signal interconnection with Lake County PASSAGE. There will be $500,000 for landscaping and reforestation work.

Some of the other projects being worked on include widening the intersection of Rollins Road with Route 83 in Round Lake Beach and constructing a new railroad underpass; constructing a new railroad underpass on Washington Street at the Canadian National Railway crossing in Grayslake; and the widening Delany Road linking Gurnee, Waukegan and Wadsworth.

On Tuesday, the County Board approved $2.3 million for a contract for the resurfacing of Sunset Avenue, Golf Road, and Greenwood Avenue, from Illinois Route 131 to Sheridan Road. Peter Baker and Son Co., Lake Bluff, was the lowest bidder and was awarded the contract.

Engineering work was approved for the reconstruction and widening of Petite Lake Road from Route 59 to Fairfield Road at a maximum cost of $312,726.

The board also approved an agreement with Regina Webster and Associates, Inc., Chicago, for Phase II design engineering services for traffic signal interconnects to Lake County PASSAGE along various routes in Lake County at a maximum cost of $59,294.80. This will add approximately 20 traffic signals and Pan Tilt Zoom cameras to the PASSAGE network, plus additional fiber optic cable and wireless links to expand the network.

The county will spend approximately $60,000 for repair and replacement of various guard rails and fence installations, and another $60,000 for crack sealing of asphalt and concrete pavement on various highways in the county. Crack sealing is done to county highways that have recently been resurfaced.

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