Fairfield Road/IL Route 176 Junction Improvement

Lake County Division of Transportation

When a concept other than a typical improvement is being considered, it is a challenge for stakeholders to imagine what the end result may look like. More and more, it is necessary to use sophisticated visualization tools to communicate the future operation as well as the look and feel of alternatives. We employed such tools on a project for the Lake County Division of Transportation at the intersection of Fairfield Road/IL Route 176. The severely congested intersection needed an increase in capacity. Because the intersection was completely surrounded by the Lakewood Forest Preserve, great consideration was given to the overall impacts of an improvement as well as the aesthetics. Three alternates were investigated: standard intersection widening, a roundabout, and a grade separation with a connector roadway to accommodate turning movements. Because two of these alternates were not “typical” intersection improvements, 3D digital terrain models were developed for each alternate, illustrating what they could look like upon completion. In addition, traffic models were simulated for each alternate to show the operation of the improvements. After extensive public involvement and coordination with the Lake County Forest Preserve District, the At-Grade Intersection Improvement was selected as the preferred alternative.

Civiltech began detailed plan preparation in Spring of 2011. It was decided to split the project into two construction contracts. The first contract included all of the required trail and underpass construction. This allowed the trail users to bypass the future roadway construction. The second contract included the roadway reconstruction. We closely coordinated with the Forest Preserve staff to design three detention ponds that would have a natural look and to limit impacts to the Forest Preserve. Deep areas of unsuitable soils also presented a design challenge. To maintain two-way traffic during construction, vibro concrete columns were designed for ground improvement, disturbing a smaller footprint than traditional undercuts.

Civiltech was selected to perform construction engineering on the roadway contract, which began in Spring of 2013. Our Resident Engineer has continued close coordination with the Forest Preserve to maintain access to their facilities, as well as with the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission and Army Corps of Engineers regarding minimizing the impact of construction on the adjacent wetlands. Civiltech maintains an informative website tracking construction progress and providing updates and photos for the public. Construction was completed in Fall 2014.

Funding

Local

Scope of Services

  • Roadway and Highway Design
  • Alternate Analysis
  • Intersection Design Studies
  • Project Report
  • Traffic Modeling and Simulation
  • Pedestrian Bicycle Underpass
  • Context Sensitive Solutions Process
  • Community Advisory Group
  • Public Information Meetings
  • Construction Engineering