July/August 2017

By Henry Hollander, Riverwoods Village Trustee

What is this and why may it be needed?

The Deerfield Road study area is from Milwaukee Avenue on the west to Saunders/Riverwoods Road on the east, a distance of approximately 2 miles.

Because the design capacity of a 2-lane roadway has been exceeded as well as the life expectancy of the current roadway, the Lake County Division of Transportation has initiated a preliminary engineering and environmental (Phase I) study to investigate capacity, safety, drainage, and non-motorized travel deficiencies, and to accommodate future travel demand for the year 2040. In addition to addressing roadway deficiencies, the Des Plaines River Bridge will be studied. A multi-use path is planned to connect the existing Buffalo Grove path on the southwest side of the Milwaukee Avenue intersection to the bike path bridge over the Des Plaines River, and ultimately to the existing Deerfield Road path on the northeast side of the Saunders/ Riverwoods Road intersection.

What are the various options?

The present road will be at the very least reconstructed as further repairs are not considered cost effective and the planned life expectancy has been reached. If it is determined that there is a need for increased capacity to improve traffic flow and safety, additional lanes will be added. This fall Lake County will present to the Stakeholder Involvement Group (SIG) the various options their engineering team recommends to meet these goals. The road improvement, at the least, will be reconstruction of the existing two-lane roadway. It could include, however, an expansion to as few as three lanes to as many as five lanes. Improvements at the Milwaukee Road/Deerfield Road intersection, the Portwine/Deerfield Road intersection, and the bridge over the Des Plaines River are also possibilities.

The SIG consists of 26 members representing various interest groups and local residents. They have the opportunity to have input into the process and into the choices presented.  Preferences, such as curb and gutter vs. shoulder and ditch, lane width, bike vs. multiuse path, will all be considered.

What are some of the elements that will be considered during the evaluation?

Traffic flow and safety measurements are taken at the multiple intersections at various times during the day and night. The project must meet National Environmental Policy Act requirements by a comprehensive environmental review and analysis. These include such elements as the impact on the floodplain and wetlands, and the impact of tree removal.

What is the time frame?

The project will occur over three (3) phases. Phase I consists of Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Studies, which is anticipated for 36 months. Phase II consists of contract plan preparation and land acquisition, and Phase III is construction. The project is approximately halfway through the Phase I stage. If approved, construction is expected during 2021 or 2022.

How is this funded?

Lake County, who owns and controls the road, is seeking federal funds for this project. If accepted into the federal program Lake County will fund 20% of the cost with the Federal Government supplying the remaining 80%. The Village of Riverwoods may help fund the adjacent landscaping to be consistent with our local environment.

What other issues might affect this project?

The intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Deerfield Road will be modified in the near future. It is expected to include two dedicated left turn lanes on southbound Milwaukee onto Deerfield eastbound that will merge some distance west of the bridge. There is active consideration by both Lake County and the Village on a dedicated westbound right turn lane at the Milwaukee Avenue intersection.

How can you learn more about this process?

Project related materials are posted on the website: www.deerfieldroadcorridor.com

In addition, the Village has a standing agenda item at each Board meeting (1st and 3rd Tuesday at 7:30 PM) in order to present an update, and hosts an email account where residents can post comments or questions: sig@riverwoods-il.net

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