Lake Bluff intersection improvements studied
Updated: September 25, 2012 2:35PM
LAKE BLUFF — Residents and interested parties have until Oct. 6 to submit comments on two finalist alternatives to the U.S. Route 41 and Illinois Route 176 intersection improvements presented at a public hearing last week.
Both alternatives include creating acceleration and deceleration lanes along Route 41 that will eliminate the frontage roads. Elimination of the frontage road on the west side of Route 41 would require development of a new entry to the Rockland Fire Protection District fire station. On the east side, a new road extending Skokie Valley Road north would be constructed to access businesses and the Rockland Homes mobile home park. The new access road either would wind through the existing commercial properties or continue east to the railroad tracks before extending north.
The creation of the acceleration and deceleration lanes on Route 41 would bring “pretty substantial safety improvements” to the intersection, said Mike Matkovic of Christopher B. Burke Engineering. The two finalist alternatives offer two options in how traffic will be controlled at Shagbark Lane and Skokie Valley Road. One alternative positions two-lane roundabouts — circular intersections — on Route 176 at Shagbark Lane and Skokie Valley Road. The other alternative calls for geometric improvements at the two intersections with continued use of traffic lights.
Drivers must use Shagbark Lane to enter or exit southbound Route 41 and Skokie Valley Road to enter or exit northbound.
The project team that has been vetting intersection improvement alternatives will evaluate comments from the public meeting on Sept. 20 and select a preferred alternative later this fall.
Engineering and environmental reports will be prepared prior to a public hearing in spring 2013. Design approval is anticipated by late spring or early summer 2013.
Matkovic cautioned that there is no state or federal funding for the next phase of engineering or for construction of the project.
But that didn’t stop Bob and Arline Hunter, residents of Lake Bluff since 1976, from attending the public hearing presented by the village of Lake Bluff and the Illinois Department of Transportation at Lake Bluff Elementary School.
“There used to be no stop lights” at the intersection of Routes 176 and 41, Bob Hunter said. “Now it could be a 20-minute wait.”
The Hunters agreed improvements need to be made, although they don’t expect it to happen any time soon.
“It gets much busier every year,” Bob Hunter said.
Traffic volumes have increased on Route 41 more than 100 percent from 1977 to 2010 and are projected to increase nearly 20 percent more by 2040, according to a handout prepared for the public meeting, the second since the project started in spring 2010.
Comments about the alternatives should be addressed to US41IL176study@cbbel.com or mailed to: George Russell, Village Engineer, Village of Lake Bluff, 40 E. Center Ave., Lake Bluff, IL 60044.