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Roundabouts to address Wauconda Township safety concerns; ‘It’s so dangerous’ – Chicago Tribune

Appropriations for a phased project to install three roundabouts along Darrel Road in Wauconda Township over the next two years have been approved by the Lake County Board.

The project will address long-standing safety concerns on the western Lake County roadway, with its accesses to routes 12 and 176, by alleviating angled crossroads and poor sightlines, officials said.

The County Board set aside $8.1 million for the project’s first phase, encompassing the staggered intersections of Case and Neville roads which connect with Darrell Road. The plans call for installing a roundabout, as well as straightening a 1.3-mile stretch of Darrell Road itself. The Lake County Division of Transportation is the lead agency for the construction and oversight.

“The preliminary engineering for this phase started back in 2014, and the estimated cost is closer to $7 million, with a slight cushion for intangibles,” said Julian Rozwadowski, the county’s project manager. “We are targeting the construction for a start in May, pending land acquisition. It’s going to take a full construction season, and be substantially complete by November.”

The county already has an intergovernmental agreement in place with Wauconda Township to handle snowplowing and repairs on the township routes where they intersect with Darrell Road and the roundabout.

“We’ve already signed off to vacate the right-of-ways for easements, and our jurisdiction for plowing and such goes up to, and away from, the roundabouts,” said Scott Weisbruch, the township’s highway commissioner. “These improvements really started coming together about five years ago. It will slow people down, and control the flow of traffic.

“It’s so dangerous,” he said

Vehicle traffic on Darrell Road, from Wauconda to Lakemoor, with routes 176 and 120 as endpoints, is heavy. Rozwadowski said that current traffic numbers are estimated at 10,000 users daily. It is expected to nearly double within the next 20 years.

“The acute intersection angles of Case Road, Neville Road, Dowell Road, and Fisher Road that all connect with Darrell road present a true safety concern that the roundabouts can answer,” he said. “During our study period, we saw 48 crashes, and they included seven injury crashes, over a five-year period.”

The most serious issue is with Dowell Road and an intersection with Darrell Road at a 45-degree angle. Dowell Road, and nearby Fisher Road, are both slated for roundabout upgrades to start tentatively in April 2024, with a completion date by that November.

“Our latest cost estimate for that phase is $9.25 million, and it’s currently included in our Transportation Improvement Program,” Rozwadowski said.

An engineer's rendering shows the realignment of Darrell and Dowell roads, correcting an angled crossroad intersection which had safety issues.

He also said the roundabout project for Case and Neville roads will go to the bidding process in mid-March, with the job order selection coming soon after.

“We’ve been waiting to see this happen, for a long time,” said Lincoln Knight, the Wauconda Township supervisor. “They’ve had four public hearings on this, and this is a tremendous safety issue to take care of. I believe people will be very happy with the results when it’s finished.”

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