Milwaukee Avenue project in Libertyville to be a lengthy affair
Libertyville 4/13/12 A crew from Walsh Construction works to widen N. Milwaukee Avenue, just South of Buckley Road on Friday, April 13, 2012. Ruthie Hauge ~ Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2012 8:09AM
Adler Park School Principal John Bogie can see the construction work on Milwaukee Avenue through the front windows of the school.
So far, Bogie said the Milwaukee Avenue project has caused “minor inconveniences” for parents and bus drivers, who can only make right turns when exiting the school’s main entrance because of orange construction barricades.
“Right now, you can’t go left out of the parking lot, you can only go right,” he said. “Parents and bus drivers have had to adjust their routes slightly to accommodate the change.”
Construction on the Milwaukee Avenue project got underway in late March, causing minor traffic delays to this point, but motorists probably won’t notice the full impact of the roadway widening project until this summer. The $25 million road project involves widening the existing two-lane stretch of Milwaukee Avenue to four lanes from south of Route 137 in Libertyville to south of Route 120 near Gurnee and improving the intersection at Milwaukee Avenue and Route 137, with additional turn lanes and traffic signal improvements.
Guy Tridgell, a spokesman of the Illinois Department of Transportation, said most of the roadwork work right now is focused on replacing the bridge where Milwaukee Avenue crosses Bull Creek. Utility lines are also being relocated along the route in preparation of major widening work scheduled to begin this summer.
‘Relocate their lines’
“We have been able to complete some advance work on the south end of the project with sewer and water main improvements,” said Tridgell. “We need the utility companies to relocate their lines before we can begin more full-stage construction.”
Tridgell said traffic will remain open in both directions during construction, but drivers will notice narrowing of lanes in some areas including at the Bull Creek bridge and occasional temporary lane closures.
“It is a construction zone and even though they aren’t in full stage construction yet people need to be aware there could be delays,” he said.
Kevin Bethyo, a managing partner for Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe at Milwaukee Avenue and Route 137 in Libertyville, said it’s too early in the project to tell what impact the road construction work might have on their business.
“Our business has still been pretty steady,” he said. “It hasn’t been severely affected as of yet. For us, it’s been okay and we’re hoping that continues.”
Libertyville Public Works Director John Heinz said he drives the route nearly every day to check on the construction and so far the work is “progressing pretty well.” He said the village posts regular updates on its website for local businesses and motorists to inform them of the progress of construction and any lane closures.
“We have been trying to keep them apprised of what going on,” Heinz said. “I’m sure they’re not thrilled by the fact there are lane closures but that’s something we’ve been telling them that was going to be happening. It was not unforeseen.”
Bogie said so far the school has not had a lot of complaints from parents or bus drivers about the construction.
“Our buses say it’s really not been a major issue with traffic flow patterns,” he said.