Route 83/Rollins Road project set to begin this month
By Jim Newton firstname.lastname@example.org August 5, 2013 8:22PM
A freight train passes through the intersection at Route 83 and Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times
A special Web site has been created to provide commuters and residents with continuously updated information on the two-year Rollins Road Reconstruction project.
The Web site, www.rollinsroadgateway.com, provides online information about the overall project, updates on construction work and potential delays and drawings of the various phases of the $60 million project.
Visitors can also sign up on the site to receive email updates about the project.
Updated: October 5, 2013 2:35AM
Fifty trains cross Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach every day, and 24,000 cars pass over those train tracks on a daily basis as well. The resulting chaos has led to years of some of the worst traffic congestion in Lake County.
“We’re going to eliminate that conflict and create a free-flow,” Al Giertych, assistant county engineer, said in anticipation of the beginning of the largest and most complicated road improvement project ever undertaken by the Lake County Division of Transportation.
Later this month, the massive $60 million Rollins Road reconstruction project will begin, featuring construction of an underpass for Rollins Road beneath the Canadian National railroad tracks and the improvement and widening of the intersection of Rollins Road and Route 83 with additional turn lanes and other features.
The project, funded through sales tax money the county has set aside, as well as a $12 million safety grant from the Illinois Commerce Commission, has been designed to move forward with as little disruption to motorists as possible.
The first phase, which Giertych said is expected to begin during the middle of this month, will consist of constructing a “runaround” road, a temporary road with two lanes in each direction running parallel to and south of Rollins Road.
The temporary road will allow traffic to continue to flow through the intersection and over the tracks at the same rate it currently does while the underpass construction is completed.
Giertych said it is expected that phase 1, which should not result in any lane closures, will be completed in time to switch traffic to the temporary road by next spring, allowing the main portion of the underpass project to begin.
There will be a two-week complete closure of Rollins Road and the temporary road in the spring required by a step of the construction, Giertych said, and residents will be kept informed of that closure well in advance.
About 500 people attended a public open house on the project July 22, and while there were a lot of questions, Giertych said the people he talked with “were happy we are doing something.”
Likewise, the Round Lake area communities all support the project, as do most businesses in the area.
While some businesses will face access difficulties during a portion of the work, Giertych said traffic congestion in the area currently curtails people from visiting the stores, and that the feedback from business owners has been that “the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term costs.”