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Round Lake Beach: ‘We’ll build a bridge over Rollins’

RenditiRollins Road Rte. 83 intersectiRound Lake Beach.

Rendition of the Rollins Road and Rte. 83 intersection in Round Lake Beach.

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Plan on display today

The Rollins Road-Route 83 intersecton plan will be presented during an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center, 2007 Civic Center Way. The open house will include exhibits and a continuous Power Point presentation outlining the improvement plan and representatives from Lake County DOT and the project study team will answer questions. For more information, visit or call (847) 377-7447.

Updated: April 2, 2011 5:33PM

The Lake County Department of Transportation is unveiling its plan to lift the Canadian National Railway out of the way of the busy intersection of Rollins Road and Route 83 in Round Lake Beach.

The plan calls for the roadway at the intersection to be lowered, while the railroad crossing is raised about two feet.

“We’ll build a bridge over Rollins,” said Chuck Gleason, project manager for Lake County DOT.

The crossing has snarled traffic for years and back-ups have grown worse as Rollins and Route 83 have been developed as commercial corridors. Gleason estimates that 50 trains, a combination of freights and Metra commuters, speed through the intersection each day. Back ups are worse during rush hours.

Round Lake Beach Mayor Rich Hill said it’s not unusual for evening northbound traffic on Route 83 backed up more than a mile to West Shorewood Road as drivers wait for trains to cross Rollins.

“We need this improvement so badly,” Hill said. “The railroad is talking about adding more trains in the future which will make congestion even worse.”

The county has been formulating a plan for the Rollins Road Gateway study area for more than a year. The gateway includes Rollins Road from Hook Drive on the east to Mallard Creek Drive on the west, and on Route 83 from Hook Drive on the north to Avon Center School Drive on the south.

The plan also calls for putting more distance between stoplights, along Rollins, at Hainesville Road and Route 83. Hainesville Road will be moved further west of Route 83 by about 300 feet. The new bridge will clear Rollins by about 17 feet, Gleason said.

One of several “Challenge Bond” projects being considered by the county, the Rollins Road improvements will cost $42 million. The county, which will foot the bill with proceeds from its sales tax, is expected to choose a project by the end of January.

What are the chances that Rollins and 83 will get a green light?

“I think it’s pretty likely,” Gleason said. “”This is one project you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s been a bad intersection for years and years. This is a great opportunity to fix it.”

If selected, the project will go out to bid by the end of 2013. Construction will take place throughout 2014.

Both Hill and Gleason say better traffic flow along Rollins will increase the likelihood that the largely vacant Mallard Creek shopping center at the northwest corner of the problem intersection, which formerly housed Wal-Mart, will be redeveloped.

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