Safety Is the Priority for Lake Zurich Road Relocation Project
For many years, the intersection of Route 14 and Lake Zurich Road has been a safety issue in the Barrington community. Lake Zurich Road averages nearly 3,300 cars per day; during the past 18 months, the Barrington Police Department has responded to 14 accidents at this location. Because of the configuration of the intersection, many of these accidents are side-impact, which result in more extensive injuries.
As a part of the long-term master planning for the proposed Route 14 underpass at the CN tracks, the Village convened a Community Advisory Group from 2011-2014 that included representatives from all interested parties, including Jewel Park residents, Shorely Wood residents, nearby businesses, the Barrington Park District, the Barrington Area Library, an independent civil engineer, and commuters who use Route 14 regularly.
The overwhelming response from that group was that the unsafe intersection at Route 14 and Lake Zurich Road must be mitigated as a part of the master plan for the underpass and for that area. In addition, three public hearings and a public meeting were held to discuss the master plan.
After receiving community input, the Village proposed a plan to re-route Lake Zurich Road through the Park District and Library properties to exit at the current Berry Road traffic signal. The re-routing plan is considered a separate project from the Route 14 underpass and would occur before the underpass construction begins.
As of spring 2017, the Lake Zurich re-routing project is fully funded. Nearly $4 million in federal Surface Transportation and almost $1 million in state matching funds will be leveraged through the use of only $348,700 in Village funds toward construction costs.
The Village moved forward with this project based on initial support from both the Barrington Park District and the Barrington Area Library. The Village is in the process of securing temporary easements on several properties along Berry Road west of Route 14 simply to ensure driveway restoration to meet the new road surface. Currently, of the 7 properties along Berry Road west of Route 14, four are under contract, with a fifth pending only final signatures.
At this time, the Library is still debating their concerns regarding perceived impacts. The Village retained Civiltech Engineering to address each of the Library’s concerns and provided written documentation addressing how each concern was either unfounded, or would be completely mitigated.
In fact, the new proposed intersection provides numerous benefits to the Library, including:
- increased safety for Library patrons, as the new entrance traffic pattern will not go past the front library entrance, which currently cuts between patron parking and the entryway
- additional parking spaces
- elimination of cost to the Library for maintenance of the existing Berry Road traffic light
- elimination of Library’s responsibility to maintain the existing detention pond
- fewer vehicle delays in entering and exiting the library parking lot
In order for the Lake Zurich Road relocation project to begin in the 2018 construction season, the community must secure the final support of the Library. The Park District has indicated that it supports the project.
If the Village is not able to move forward with this plan, the existing intersection at Lake Zurich Road and Route 14 would likely stay as is, but with the new underpass would result in an unsafe down-sloped intersection, which would only make conditions even worse at that intersection, especially during snow, ice, or rain conditions. In addition, the Lake Zurich Road intersection would be closed for up to 10 months during the final phases of the Route 14 underpass project to facilitate construction, whereas the new route could be constructed while maintaining the current path, leading to no closure.
The Village is hoping to secure the support of the Library in order to move forward with the re-routing of Lake Zurich Road in 2018. This will ensure a much safer intersection for our community, both now and especially once the underpass project is completed. If you wish to let the Library Board know your feelings about supporting this project, contact the Board at www.barringtonarealibrary.org/library-board.