President Preckwinkle Announces 2014 Road Program Will Focus On Repair of Weather-Damaged Roads, Bridges
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today that the County’s annual road construction program would focus heavily on restoring pavement damaged by this winter’s severe conditions. Preckwinkle unveiled a number of road and bridge projects that will commence during the spring and summer under the supervision of the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, including reconstruction of Crawford Avenue from Devon Avenue to Oakton Street in Lincolnwood and Skokie. The menu of projects will cost an estimated $38 million for projects in 24 communities and cover approximately 55 lane miles of roadway. Additional road and bridge repairs will be identified and undertaken through a $16.7 million Illinois Jobs Now! grant announced recently by Gov. Pat Quinn. “This winter took a toll on the surface transportation system throughout Cook County,” Preckwinkle said. “While we have committed to a couple of larger, much-needed projects, the bulk of our work this year will be to repair pavement and bridges so that drivers have a smoother and safer ride on County roadways.” Major projects include: The Crawford Avenue project will cost about $18.7 million to completely reconstruct eight lane miles of Crawford, as well as improve drainage. Cook County has been working with the villages of Skokie and Lincolnwood in preparation for the project’s launch to reduce the impact on residents and businesses along Crawford and intersecting streets through the construction zone. The County has allocated approximately $5 million for repairs to bridges over the Cal-Sag channel in various South and Southwest suburbs: those that span the channel at 104th Avenue, Ridgeland Avenue, Crawford Avenue and Francisco Avenue. Sanders Road between Techny Road and Lake Cook Road in Northbrook and Deerfield will be patched and resurfaced at an approximate cost of $3.1 million. Streetscape and sidewalk improvements and street lighting in Robbins between 135th and 139th streets at a cost of $2.1 million. Among additional projects is pavement improvement at the intersection of Hintz Road and Wheeling Road in Wheeling. Patching and road resurfacing work is planned on Euclid Avenue in Rolling Meadows; on Illinois Road in Wilmette; on Naperville Road in Bartlett; on Cottage Grove Avenue through Chicago Heights, Ford Heights and Glenwood; on Kedzie Avenue in Markham; and on Steger Road in Richton Park. A frontage road bordering the Edens Expressway in Morton Grove will be resurfaced as part of this year’s program, as will Dempster Street in Skokie. Repairs to retaining walls on Central Avenue in Midlothian and to bridges on Robert Road in Palos Hills and Ridgeland Avenue in Tinley Park are also included in the 2014 plan. “Along with repairing and improving our existing roads, the Department of Transportation and Highways will continue its forward-looking study on the County’s future needs through our Long Range Transportation Plan,” Preckwinkle said. “By the end of 2015, we expect to have a roadmap that establishes how we can best prioritize projects and utilize resources to ensure that Cook County meets the transportation needs of its citizens, connects population bases with jobs, and produces a sustainable future.” The County’s highway department, now the Department of Transportation and Highways, was established in 1913 with 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.” Today, the Department oversees 557 miles of roads and highways, 134 bridges, 351 traffic signals and seven pumping stations throughout Cook County.