Lake County DOT 5 Year Highway Improvement Program

Transportation and infrastructure is one of the core functions of County Government. It provides not only the means for efficiently getting residents and businesses to and from in a safe and efficient manner, it also is a key component for maintaining a quality of life.

This page will show you the 5 Year Highway and non-motorized Improvement plan for Lake County related to expansion, modernization, non-motorized and preservation projects. Click on the tabs to the left to see the descriptions and maps of the 5 year plan.

Program Background

A safe and efficient transportation system contributes to quality of life for the residents of Lake County, Lake County businesses also rely on this network to move goods and services through the county and to help workers get to their jobs. Our transportation system is one of the most visible and fundamental assets of the county: A system of 300+ miles of major collector arterial highways and more than 60 miles of bike facilities (separate bike trails, on-road bike paths and paved bike roadway lanes) maintained by the Lake County Division of Transportation. Please view the Summary Project Listing (PDF) or the 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program (PDF) for more detailed information.

Funding the Program

The 5 Year Program is a means of scheduling projects in the county’s Long Range Transportation Plan. Since most highway projects take several years of study and engineering to properly address roadway design, drainage, environmental, municipal and public coordination issues, the implementation of the 5-Year Program is a continual process, like an assembly line.

Many of the projects in this program are on the assembly line at varying points of readiness — carried forward from year to year through the general phases of planning, design, construction and maintenance. This 5-year program covers program years 2020-2024, and also includes projects in the approved budget for the current county fiscal year, 2019.

Fund Sources

The program is fiscally constrained by the revenue expected to be available. Lake County uses funds from five tax sources to accomplish highway projects: County Highway Tax, County Bridge Tax, Matching Tax, Motor Fuel Tax and 0.25% Sales Tax for Transportation. In addition, some project costs are shared by federal, state and local governments, townships and developers.

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Funding Priorities

Lake County tries to preserve the existing highway system and modernize its operation before allocating capital resources for expansion. Some projects are designed to address traffic flow problems associated with peak travel times (about 20% of the daily traffic), while others provide benefits to all daily highway users. Projects which are already under construction and for which funds will be paid out during the current fiscal year are also included.


Guidance for the 5-Year Program

The Lake County Division of Transportation is guided by the goals and strategies outlined in the Lake County Strategic Plan. As stated in the plan, Lake County government is committed to promoting and sustaining a safe, healthy, vibrant and environmentally responsible county, while maintaining its strong financial position. In partnership with citizens, communities and all levels of government, we pledge to deliver efficient and high quality public services consistent with the community’s values and priorities.

The Strategic Plan is broken down into five main goals, one of which is “Improve Transportation”. The County Engineer serves as the chair of the Transportation Goal Committee and the committee continues to make progress on the transportation actions identified in the plan and other key areas that will have long-lasting benefits to the community. The Strategic Plan and ongoing progress can be found on Lake County’s website. View Lake County’s Strategic Plan

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Expansion projects provide highway capacity to meet long-term traffic flow needs and provide for economic development. Expansion projects typically add lanes to existing roads or build new roads in the highway system. System Expansion projects are normally given third priority preference.

In prior years, available revenue was projected to be sufficient for basic needs in the categories of Preservation and Modernization, but did not stretch far enough to fund sorely-needed expansion projects.

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Many feel that the inability to address highway congestion is hurting the county as it competes for economic growth. While residential growth seems unaffected by congestion, excessive residential growth unaccompanied by desirable non-residential development is viewed by some as a net drain on government resources (e.g. school overcrowding). Highway investment positively impacts our local economy—creating good paying jobs and providing for the efficient movement of goods and people—making an area attractive to desirable economic development.

The economic climate in which more recent 5-year programs were created has been much different than when the county board endorsed the “Plan for Using the New Collar County Transportation Empowerment Funds” in 2008. The plan assumed a certain level of transportation sales tax funding; however sales tax revenues have fallen short of expectations. Forecasted revenues have been revised to reflect this condition, and the program is fiscally constrained by the revenues expected to be available. For more information please view the Summary Project Listing (PDF).

Most modernization projects are developed based on traffic engineering analysis. Modernization projects reduce delays and increase safety by more efficiently operating the highway system and by accommodating short-term traffic growth.

An example of a modernization project is the installation of left turn lanes and traffic signals at an intersection.

The left turn lane on the main highway will eliminate the back-up of traffic behind a stopped vehicle waiting to turn left into the side street, while the traffic signal will allow traffic on the side street to safely enter the high traffic highway.

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Lake County’s traffic modeling software uses traffic data along with existing signal timing to review congestion and Level of Service (LOS) at all signalized intersections. This data allows engineers to identify locations where intersection modernization improvements should be considered.

In order to have a better understanding of safety along County highways, Lake County receives processed crash information from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). This information, along with the crash reports completed by local law enforcement, paint a picture of crashes occurring in a specific area and assist engineers to look at roadway improvements that will improve safety for all users.

Other projects in the Modernization category include projects which accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel, implementation of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) elements in Lake County PASSAGE, and the county’s coordination of paratransit service. Modernization projects are normally given second priority.

The Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) is more than just roads. LCDOT has about 60 miles of bike paths and bike lanes as part of the Lake County highway system and continues to consider non-motorized travel a high priority.

Whenever possible, bike paths are added during a reconstruction and widening project, and bike-friendly shoulders are added where appropriate during resurfacing projects. LCDOT works with municipal agencies and other partners to look for opportunities to connect the dots and fill the gaps in the non-motorized network. Overall, Lake County has over 550 total miles of trails and bike ways connecting forest preserves and communities!

Good transportation policies are based on the premise that the public right-of-way is to be shared and well-designed road corridors should accommodate all users. Not only does this provide more travel options to our residents, but it can also help with:

Cleaner, healthier air
Less congested roadways
More livable, safe and cost-efficient communities

This effort is guided and influenced by Lake County’s Non-Motorized Travel Policy (2010) and the Lake County Year 2040 Transportation Plan, adopted in 2014. The 2040 plan proposes a countywide bike trunk system of facilities through a combination of trail extensions or new paths to accommodate the increasing demand for bicycle travel in Lake County.

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These projects keep highway pavements, bridges, bike paths and other assets in a good condition.

Preservation projects are normally given first priority preference. Many of these projects are developed from road inventories and inspections. Others are derived using Argus, a computer-based pavement management program which analyzes pavement testing results and generates a set of recommended projects for the next five years, given budget availability.

Lake County has made a significant investment in its pavements. the estimated cost to build the existing county roadway network today exceeds $2.1 billion. Preservation projects help to protect this investment, and provide smooth pavements and bridges to highway users.

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