This year the department plans to allocate $35 million to improve nearly 49 lane miles of roadway in 19 municipalities across Cook County.
When the department was established in 1913, it had only one mile of concrete road and two employees — the superintendent and his secretary. It was created by the State of Illinois to “pull the state out of the mud” and “build a system of hard roads for the state,” according to archives from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. Today, the department oversees 557 miles of highways, 134 bridges, 351 traffic signals and seven pumping stations.
“We celebrate the department’s extraordinary accomplishments over the last 100 years — including the building of five major expressways in Cook County,” President Preckwinkle said. “Today, the department remains essential to economic growth and public safety. Most recently, our highway personnel responded quickly and admirably to alleviate the dangerous flooding that impacted the homes and communities of so many residents.”
One of this year’s major projects will relieve congestion along Deerfield’s Lake Cook Road, the County’s most congested roadway. The $8.5 million reconstruction project from Pfingsten Road to Waukegan Road will widen the street from four to six lanes, install illuminated street name signs and build sidewalks to improve pedestrian access. Once the project is complete, the roadway’s increased capacity will alleviate traffic through the busy Waukegan intersection.
Currently underway this season is a $3 million roadway patching project on 3.1 miles of Schaumburg Road, from Barrington Road east to Roselle Road. The improvements will eventually supplement the Roselle Road/I-90 tollway interchange project, set to begin in 2014. The project will be jointly funded by the County and Toll Highway Authority.
“Part of the new mission of Transportation and Highways is to work with the County’s Bureau of Economic Development to promote regional economic growth,” President Preckwinkle said. “The departments have worked collaboratively on the Roselle Road corridor and have partnered with the Illinois Tollway to begin construction next year on a full interchange at Roselle Road and the I-90 expressway. It clearly demonstrates our commitment to economic development in Schaumburg and the northwest suburbs.”
Other key roadway projects in 2013 are:
- 138th Street from Ashland Avenue to Park Avenue in Riverdale and Dolton – Rehabilitation of existing payment.
- Arlington Heights Road from Brantwood Avenue to Cottage Grove in Elk Grove Village – Resurfacing with new asphalt.
- Hintz Road from Arlington Heights Road to Elmhurst Road in Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Arlington Heights, Prospect Heights – Rehabilitation of existing pavement.