Businesses concerned about next phase of road projects
Jennifer Killen, chief engineer with the Transportation and Planning Bureau of the Cook County Highway Department, talks about the Lake Cook Road Construction Project during an informational meeting at the Deerfield Village Hall. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Tim
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:40AM
NORTHBROOK — The Cook County Highway Department is about to give the green light to a $9 million construction project at Lake Cook and Waukegan Roads, as owners of nearby businesses in Deerfield and Northbrook hold their breaths.
Cook County will now go ahead with plans this spring to reconstruct Lake Cook Road from Deer Lake Road to Ellendale Road, and Waukegan Road from its 100 block to the Edens Spur Ramp.
“This is a Cook County project and we didn’t vote to have this done, but we know it needs to be done,” said Deerfield Village President Harriet Rosenthal, addressing representatives of both villages Thursday, as well as business owners, at Deerfield’s village hall.
She added that communication will be the most important “survival” aspect of the issue, and encouraged drivers to watch for construction updates online.
In 2011, the county rehabilitated Lake Cook Road between Wilmot Road and Pine Street, as well as reconstructing and widening Lake Cook between Pine Street and Deer Lake Road.
During that time, some area businesses reported as much as a 50 percent loss of customers. Some closed their doors citing the construction as the reason, if not among the reasons.
Both Northbrook and Deerfield officials had interceded on behalf of their business communities, asking the county for a one-year reprieve and the work to be done as fast as possible when it was to continue again.
So the county skipped a year to allow suffering merchants to regain some economic health after their customers had been avoiding the area because of the construction.
And now the county is also offering contractors a $17,500 per day incentive to finish the work ahead of its Oct. 26 completion date, as well as imposing a $17,500 per day fine for every day construction continues beyond that date, said John Yonan, Cook County Highway Department’s superintendent of Highways.
The 2013 project will include: reconstruction of both roads, traffic signal modernization, LED street signs, transitional street lighting at the Lake Cook and Waukegan Roads intersection, he added.
It also will include: 40,000-square-feet of sidewalk installation on Lake Cook, continuous new sidewalk east of Waukegan Road, and 1,000 feet of water main construction.
According to John Beissel, the assistant superintendent of the Cook County Highway Department, the work will be done in four stages:
• first – installation of temporary traffic signals and demolition of median islands to allow one lane of traffic in each direction and left turn lanes wherever possible;
• second – traffic limited to the southern half of Lake Cook and reduced to one lane in each direction. Then, it will be shifted to the northern half;
• third – traffic shifted to the newly constructed southern half of Lake Cook, while the northern half and the village water main are constructed;
• fourth – construction and landscaping of the median.
Northbrook resident Adele Sturgis expressed concern about construction blocking access to Northbrook Court, one of the village’s most significant tax providers.
Jennifer Killen, Cook County’s bureau chief of transportation and planning, noted that she hoped shoppers and diners will continue frequenting businesses along the route despite the construction.
“There will be some challenges throughout this project,” she added, “but we hope having good communication set up from the start will mean that there won’t be as many.”