Crystal Lake mayor warns of headaches on roads
CRYSTAL LAKE – Getting around Crystal Lake is about to get more difficult.
Congestion, backups and delays are expected as road construction projects get under way.
“We would encourage everyone to remain patient because it is going to be a pretty bad situation with all the projects going on in and around Crystal Lake,” Mayor Aaron Shepley said. “It’s going to be slow going this summer.”
The closure of a section of Pingree Road from the railroad tracks to just past Congress Parkway could create headaches for Metra riders who use the Pingree Road station.
The small, but critical, section of Pingree Road is scheduled to close Tuesday as part of a $1.7 million roadway improvement project.
Traffic will be rerouted along Crystal Lake Avenue, Route 31 and Route 14. Detour signs will be posted.
Southbound traffic will be detoured on Crystal Lake Avenue and Route 31 to reconnect with Pingree Road via Route 14. Northbound traffic will be detoured on Route 14 and Route 31 to reconnect with Pingree Road via Crystal Lake Avenue.
The section of Pingree Road is slated to reopen in September, but that depends on a number of factors, such as utility relocation work and the weather.
There is additional parking in the Beardsley Street and Main Street commuter lots near the Metra station in downtown Crystal Lake.
Construction crews plan to install permanent traffic lights at Pingree Road and Congress Parkway, and add dual left-turn lanes from northbound Pingree Road onto Congress Parkway. The project calls for adding a through-lane in each direction – a total of two in each direction – from Cog Circle through the intersection at Congress Parkway.
Also part of the work is modifying the railroad crossing and installing an 8-foot-wide bike path from Congress Parkway to north of the rail to connect with another trail. A high-pressure gas main will be relocated, as well.
Several other ongoing road projects could add to traffic woes.
Construction crews already have been busy this spring on the final season of a two-year effort to widen Rakow Road. The $26.6 million project will widen Rakow Road to six lanes between Pyott and Ackman roads and to four lanes from Pyott Road to Route 31. It is expected to be completed by late fall.
Work is ongoing to widen and resurface Route 31 near Prairie Grove between Ames and Edgewood roads. That project is scheduled to be finished in September.
Work has started on an $11 million project to improve the busy intersection of Walkup Road and Route 176 and another segment of the Walkup Road corridor. Plans call for two through-lanes in each direction at the intersection of Walkup Road and Route 176, along with separate left- and right-turn lanes. North of Crystal Ridge Drive, Walkup Road will get a continuous center turn lane with right-turn lanes at some locations.
The south leg of the Walkup Road and Route 176 intersection is to be closed to traffic, possibly starting in mid-June, for an as-yet unspecified time during the construction project, said Erik Morimoto, Crystal Lake director of engineering and building.
Crystal Lake officials have launched an aggressive information campaign ahead of the planned road closures to prepare commuters.
City officials worked with Metra to make daily announcements to riders about the upcoming Pingree Road closure. Crystal Lake police officers handed out fliers to commuters at the Pingree Road station Friday and plan to be out there again from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday.
Officials have created websites for both the Walkup Road/Route 176 project (www.walkuproad.com) and the Pingree Road project (www.pingreeconstruction.info). There will updates there and via Twitter and Facebook.
In addition, city staffers visited 130 businesses that could be affected by the road work to hand out brochures and answer questions.
“The good news is this will be short-term pain,” Shepley said. “Things will be a lot smoother and a lot better when this work is done.”