Deerpath, Waukegan Rd. construction in full swing for new Lake Forest Hospital

Construction on Deerpath in Lake Forest, which has shifted traffic near the hospital entrance, has motorists on alert.

Large orange-and-white-striped barrels, merge signs and yellow caution tape funnel drivers into a temporarily narrower lane just west of the viaduct under Route 41. Likewise, work has begun on a new Waukegan Road entrance and exit to the 160-acre campus at 660 N. Westmoreland Road.

The intersection improvements are touted as the “first major step” in the revitalization of the Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital campus by both city and hospital leaders.

“This intersection, along with the underpass to its east, has needed safety improvements for a long time and we are excited that those developments are finally taking place,” Mayor Donald Schoenheider said. “I hope that residents can appreciate the importance of this project and exercise patience and caution.”

On Deerpath, workers are creating wider turn lanes and a right-turn lane on westbound Deerpath onto Westmoreland to access the hospital campus. Deerpath work is expected to continue until early October.

For much of that time, there will be single-lane traffic on a portion of Westmoreland and some lane shifting on Deerpath.

“We heard clearly from the City Council and the community that completing the road improvements at the front end of the campus revitalization project was important,” Lake Forest Hospital President Thomas McAfee said in a statement.

Work on the new hospital building is expected to start this fall.

Officials urge motorists who usually access the hospital campus via Deerpath to consider using Waukegan Road or the spur connection to southbound Route 41 instead.

In August, the pavement on Westmoreland Road will be resurfaced between Deerpath and just south of the southern entrance to campus. During resurfacing, traffic on Westmoreland will be reduced to one lane.

Work on the Waukegan Road entrance and exit is expected to be completed in mid-November, hospital officials said.

Schoenheider urges resident understanding during the construction.

“These roadway projects will have positive long-term impacts for both the community and hospital,” he said.

Work generally will take place between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday until school starts, hospital officials said. Once school is in session at the end of August, work hours will be reduced to between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Lake Forest Police Deputy Chief Karl Walldorf said they have fielded few complaints and seen no traffic accidents in the work areas, but he cautions drivers to take it easy.

“Slow down and drive with caution,” he said. “There are people working out there.”

Residents who have questions or concerns about the roadwork should contact Ralph Davila at 847-810-3552 or davilar@cityoflakeforest.com.

In June, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approved construction of a new hospital building on the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital campus, allowing work to begin this fall.

The new facility will feature 114 private inpatient beds and eight operating rooms in crescent-shaped connected pavilions overlooking a reflecting pool and waterfall. The new building is expected to open in 2017.

City officials consider construction of a new hospital building the biggest project the city has ever undertaken.

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