Roadway improvements coming soon
Bill Emmerich, Mundelein's village engineer, looks over proposed blue prints for intersection improvements at Route 176 and Routes 60/83. | Joe Shuman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 20, 2012 8:44AM
MUNDELEIN – Relief is on the way for commuters who travel through the intersection of Route 60/83 and Route 176 in Mundelein.
The State of Illinois wired Mundelein $5 million on Dec. 10 to help expand those lanes, a project that was postponed five years ago.
Route 176 is a two-lane road, while Route 60/83 is a four-lane road.
A left turn-lane and another straight lane would be added to each direction of Route 176.
“That would improve safety tremendously,” Village Engineer Bill Emmerich said. “There’s no prohibition on left turns, but when a car stops up that lane, you get anxious people meandering blindly into the intersection. We routinely have accidents at that location.”
Route 60/83 would get an additional lane that goes through the intersection.
Along Route 83 before it merges with Route 60 is Fieldcrest Drive, a road that leads into residential neighborhoods.
Mundelein also hopes to extend Fieldcrest Drive across Route 83, behind the shopping center until it connects with Route 60, easing the main roads by giving residents another option.
Village Administrator John Lobaito said Mundelein has to buy 50-square-feet of land at three intersections where construction would occur or equipment would sit. He hopes to buy those properties and get construction permits this winter.
Lobaito then plans to bid the project in the spring and start construction in summer 2013.
While Lobaito was key to lobbying Springfield for the $5 million, Emmerich will handle much of the project.
“Our designs are done and are about 90-plus percent approved by the Illinois Department of Transportation,” Emmerich said. “I don’t pin my hopes on the state being real responsive, though. They’ve been reviewing the project all along and it’s still not fully approved.”
Illinois did not relinquish control over the two state highways but did give Mundelein authority to control the project.
Mundelein first began talks of redeveloping the intersection in 2003. The village hoped to have more retail shopping and an infrastructure to support the traffic.
Walmart agreed to build in the shopping center, which also attracted Kohls.
Lobaito said IDOT agreed to share in the cost of improve Route 60/83 and route 176.
A 2007 lawsuit by Ivanhoe Club property owners against Mundelein claimed a Walmart would lower their property value and unjustly disturb their community, ultimately claiming Mundelein did not provide proper means for public feedback.
The lawsuit put Walmart’s construction on hold until it finally backed out of the deal. Simultaneously, IDOT waited to contribute to an eventual redevelopment project – its interest dwindling as time went on.
In recent years, Lobiato has argued for upgrades even though new retail centers have no overburdened the roadways.
“These intersections are not functioning now, without more retail shopping, and that’s why we convinced IDOT to give us the money,” Lobaito said. “The intersection does have a lot of congestion and it’s because Lake County has grown. The roads need updated to meet the demands of the modern area.”
While Kohls never came to Mundelein, village officials did announce this summer that Walmart agreed to take the Menards storefront in Oak Creek. Menards will soon build a store across from Target, along Route 60 in Mundelein.
With Walmart buying different property, the Route 60/83 and Route 176 intersection still has room to grow.
Lobaito said he plans to reverse the 2007 project and use the roadway upgrades to attract new retail business.