Monday, October 19, 2009

Consensus Reached on 120 Vision

From the Daily Herald:
By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff

Now that a group of Lake County politicians has agree how Route 120 should be improved from Volo to Waukegan, it'll be up to the state to decide if the idea proceeds.

Members of the Route 120 Corridor Planning Council voted Wednesday night in favor of a "unified vision" for the frequently congested east-west thoroughfare. The recommendation will be forwarded to state legislators with the hope for future funding.

Representatives from five Lake County Board districts and 11 towns agreed on what Route 120 should become. County Board member Diana O'Kelly of Mundelein said she hopes state officials notice how so many interests are on the same page.

O'Kelly said the state's poor financial condition does not mean the Route 120 plan won't gain the needed money to proceed in the future.

"I think we have to hope," O'Kelly said Friday. "I think if the legislators want it, projects do get funded."

Under the plan, Route 120 would become a four-lane arterial highway with limited access between Fish Lake Road in Volo on the west and Almond Road in Warren Township on the east.

Part of the plan would entail a seven-mile bypass segment around the existing Route 120 in the Grayslake area. Local and regional traffic would be separated with the bypass.

O'Kelly said the immediate goal is to gain state funding for the proposed project's first phase that would include engineering studies.

Some members of the Route 120 Corridor Planning Council have voiced satisfaction the bypass concept for the Grayslake area has been devised so it would not have a detrimental environmental effect on the Almond Marsh.

Preliminary cost estimates show the Route 120 work could range from $217 million to $244 million. Local leaders at a 2005 transportation summit pegged improvements to Route 120 as a top priority.

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