Continuous work to speed completion of next year’s phase of the Lake Cook Road construction project between Deerlake and Waukegan Roads is a possibility put under consideration Tuesday by Cook County Highway Department Superintendent John Yonan.
Yonan responded to pleas from Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal and Northbrook Village President Sandra Frum to finish the project as quickly as possible during a meeting Tuesday at Deerfield Village Hall where the roadwork plans were unveiled to more than 30 people.
“When the Edens (Expressway) or the Tollway go under construction it’s 24/7,” Rosenthal said. “Lake Cook Road is a major thoroughfare. We want you to take this under consideration. Our businesses were at a severe disadvantage (last year). We lost some businesses.”
Yonan’s initial response to Rosenthal’s request was a concern for the noise emanating from the construction. He was afraid it would be a problem for residents trying to sleep. “We can do it, but there are people who will complain,” he said.
Several people in the room explained the work area is not a residential area. Frum quickly let Yonan know it was not Cook County’s problem and could be handled by Northbrook and Deerfield. “They’re our ordinances,” she said of the noise potential.
The only residential areas affected are the homes east of Waukegan Road and south of Lake Cook Road in unincorporated Cook County. Yonan indicated his branch of government could handle that piece of the noise puzzle.
Noise Can Travel a Mile
“Some of the noise can be heard a mile away,” Yonan said. “We can try it but some of the excavation cannot be done at night,” he added explaining the necessity of daylight when digging around utility lines and water pipes for safety purposes.
Though he would not commit to a calendar day incentive to motivate the contractor to complete the work early, Yonan did not rule it out. “We will consider it,” he told Patch after the meeting.
Rosenthal endorsed the idea of incentives to speed the work. “A lot of people need work,” she said. “They should get the job done as quickly as possible and move on to the next one.”
When the work is done, Lake Cook Road will be three lanes throughout Deerfield, according to Cook County Area Construction Supervisor Mike Ewers. “The contract will be let this year so the work can begin when the weather breaks,” he said.
The first phase of construction will limit traffic to the two outside lanes while the rest of the road is prepared, according to Ewers. After that, cars will be driving on the north side of the street while the south side is turned into a three-lane road. Then the traffic flow will be reversed. After that, turn lanes will be completed.
Utility Work Will be Planned Ahead of Time
Another benefit of hiring the contractor before the end of the year will enable the firm to work with utility companies to properly plan infrastructure projects and avoid some of the causes of the 2011 delays.
A number of business owners at the meeting were most concerned about communication of specific parts of the project which will affect their operations.
Donna Price of CRE8 Workshop wants to know when she will have a problem so she can plan. “Can you let us know at the beginning of the week,” she asked?
Yonan and Ewers promised to let people know the step by step progress of the effort. Rosenthal and Frum both said they would put as much information on their village websites as possible.