Featuring Photos, Videos, & Interviews During the Construction
As the construction begins on the Rollins Road Gateway Project at Route 83 and Rollins Road you will find updates, photos, and videos as soon as they become available to show how the construction is progressing along with traffic issues. This page will contain a separate running blog update on what is going on in the construction zone once it gets started. You can also click on our RSS feed to get regular upates on all new posts.
Click on an image below to view ongoing construction scenes taken every half hour from either Camera A (Rollins Road) or camera B (Route 83)
Avoid this area since there will be a LOT of trucks coming and going
Starting Thursday morning around 7:00 AM contractors will begin putting down the new asphalt on the Washington Street widening project. They will be using one of their monster machines that will be capable of reaching from the curb’s edge to the center of the 3-lane road, thus creating only one seam in the middle. One truck filled with hot asphalt will only produce about 30 feet of roadway so you can imagine just how many truckloads it will take to do the entire length of the project. Even so, they are hoping to open the stretch up to traffic next week. Please avoid this area and don’t try to navigate through it during this final phase since any unnecessary traffic just slows things down for the workers and truckers trying to navigate with their mirrors. Below is one last video trip down the road before it all gets covered over with new asphalt. Below that is a short video showing the continued excavation of dirt by the new Rollins Road railroad bridge. Most of the temporary steel pilings that will now need to be removed or cut off below ground level have been exposed. These were necessary to hold back the pressure of the temporary rail line while they excavated and installed the concrete supports for the new rail bridge right next to it. They have served their purpose and now must be removed.
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Rollins traffic will navigate UNDER BOTH bridges for six weeks
Around Labor Day, September 1st, you can expect to see a lot of detour signs as drivers will be UNABLE to exit or enter Rollins Road from Route 83 and vice-versa. At that time the project will be entering Stage 3 which will allow traffic to travel UNDER both the temporary Rt. 83 bridge as well as the brand new railroad bridge. The temporary Rollins Road by-pass will be closed to traffic. Drivers wishing to get from Rollins to Route 83 or from Route 83 to Rollins will have to follow the posted detour routes. This situation is expected to take about six weeks until more work is completed for the new intersection being created just east of the railroad bridge. The following graphic shows where they are currently at which is Stage 2C.
The second graphic, Stage 3, shows the temporary bridge still being utilized (green is active traffic and orange is under construction). After approximately six weeks of closed access, traffic will navigate as shown in Stage 4. Notice that the approximate dates for each Stage’s activity has been pushed further out due to abnormal weather conditions.
(Graphics courtesy of RollinsRoadGateway.com)
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Local road construction updates
There is a lot going on at all three local construction sites. Starting with Hart Road and Sunset Drive, the contractor opened up Hart Rd. from Cedar Lake Road to Sunset on Tuesday but closed Hart Road from Sunset to Route 134 the same day. People living in the construction zone still have access to their driveways.
It looks as though they have about 70% of the new curbing in on Washington Street and the latest word from the Lake County Department of Transportation is that they plan to open up Washington Street from Cedar Lake Road to Hainesville Road the week of July 21st. There will still be some ongoing work being performed and if needed they will be using flaggers to reduce traffic to just one lane during the work shifts.
Sheet pilings are still being driven deep into the ground over at the Rollins Road Gateway project as they make preparations to pour the concrete retaining walls on the west side of the new railroad bridge. Once that is done they will be able to bust through the remaining earth to meet up with the area on the east side of the bridge. Then the underground drainage, etc. can be completed before the final concrete roadway is poured.
The following three videos will give you a quick look at what it all looked like on Saturday.
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Rollins Road Gateway, Hart-Sunset, Washington Street, and Millennium Trail views
As many of you already know, I have been reporting on several of the ongoing construction projects in the Round Lake Area to help keep local residents and commuters informed on the progress. Every so often I receive some excellent photos from Tom Bock who works for the company doing much of the traffic signal work, HomeTowne Electric. Most of the photos Tom sends me are taken from his airplane which he keeps at Campbell Airport. A couple of weeks ago I had someone ask me “So, when are you going up in the plane?” You can imagine my surprise when I received an email from Tom early last week inviting me to do just that!
A quick review of my past flying experience might enlighten you on a little anxiety I had after accepting the invitation. The first time I had ever been on a plane was back in the 70′s when my wife and kids went to Disney World and when the plane was landing it had lousy cabin pressure and my ears felt like they could burst. Once we were in the terminal I couldn’t even hear to complete the car rental and my head was aching terribly. The second and last time was when I worked as an electronic technician for Ball Bros. in Mundelein and they flew me to Powers, N.Y. to learn more about some new equipment they were purchasing. After landing, I had to get on a smaller aircraft that shook and shuddered as the pilot blew the carbon out of the cylinders just before takeoff. Thus, my experience in flying was less than thrilling. I even stopped at Walgreen’s and bought a bottle of Dramamine motion sickness tablets so I wouldn’t get airsick and make a mess in Tom’s plane (remembering how sick I got on a Lake Michigan charter boat ride once we lost sight of land). So, off I headed Saturday morning to meet Tom around 8:00 AM, with a pill in my pocket. Since the instructions said not to consume alcohol and that they might cause severe drowsiness and to not operate a vehicle, I decided to skip the pill. In the afternoon I had plans to stop by the RLB Cultural & Civic Center to shoot some video of the 1st Lake County Count-I-Con convention and I didn’t want to be too tired to do that plus I thought maybe Tom and I might stop somewhere for a sandwich and adult beverage.
As you can see from the following two videos, we got off the ground, had a wonderful ride over the area, set our sights on breakfast in Janeville, and returned safely to Campbell Airport. Small planes are at the mercy of every little wind gust and you sit pretty tight in them so there is quite a bit of jumpy footage. I also made the mistake of trying to zoom in too often which did nothing except cause more blurring. I took the time to add quite a number of location markers so that you can get an idea of just where we were while flying over your rooftops. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I enjoyed taking it from the airplane. Thanks again, Tom, for the wonderful invitation.
The first video is just the takeoff from Campbell Airport and the second one is the fly-over and trip to Janesville, WI. which only took about 25 minutes by air flying at 110 Knots (125 MPH).
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Rollins Road should be open for Monday’s afternoon rush hour
Crews were on-site bright and early Monday morning installing and bolting down the large rubber chunks that run alongside the new rails. Around noon the asphalt trucks were scheduled to arrive to fill in the remaining gaps so that traffic could be opened up around 4:30 for the evening rush hour.
People have expressed concern about future viaduct flooding once the new intersection is completed at a lower grade. The viaduct will have natural, gravity fed, drainage into a new detention pond that will have inlets located LOWER than the very bottom of the viaduct.
This new detention pond will overflow into another recently created detention pond and eventually reach Gateway Park’s twin ponds after traveling through a series of gravel filters. It will then drain towards Round Lake via storm sewers that were installed several years ago under Williams Street.
Another thing worth mentioning is that next weekend, June 21-22, they will be switching the train service onto the new tracks. They do not anticipate any lane closures when this is being done. The crossing gate on the west side of the tracks will NOT be relocated closer to the tracks. I asked one of the Benesch crew if this wouldn’t allow for a car to be caught between the rails and the gate due to the big space. He told me that the lights turn red to stop eastbound traffic at the gates while the lights at Rt. 83 remain green to allow all traffic to exit the area safely. The gates will not be moved or removed until the bypass gets torn out.
Below is an artist’s drawing of Stage 3 where it shows an additional detention pond being added on the SE corner of Rollins Road and Hainesville Rd. One interesting thing to point out in the drawing is that it doesn’t appear as though traffic on Rollins or Route 83 will be able to switch to the other road during this phase since Rollins will be passing under the temporary Rt. 83 bridge and there are no entrance/exit ramps shown.
Today’s special is an update on three local construction projects: Rollins Road, Hart Road, and Sunset Drive.
Below are two short videos showing the new tracks that were installed across Rollins Road today and also the new curbing that has been installed on Hart Road, plus a quick look at what is happening on Sunset Drive. That huge machine on the railroad track can raise, lower, tilt, and align the new rails depending on what the sensors tells it. It also has a vibrator that causes the gravel base to fill any voids under the rails and then squeezes the gravel base with 18,000 pounds of force to keep it all in place.
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Closure is expected to last until Monday morning
It seems like just about everybody who was up by the railroad tracks at Rollins Road and Route 83 was expecting the barricades to go up at 7:00 PM. However, when I arrived about 6:45 one of the trucks loaded with barricades was parked in the old WalMart lot and I saw another one come racing down Hainesville Road about 7:30 heading into the same lot. They both left and started setting up the detour signs that need to be placed much farther from the construction site to let drivers know ahead of time where to turn. In the meantime a few of the workers at the crossing became flaggers to allow for the concrete cutting contractor to start making the asphalt cut so that it would be a clean edge when removed. It wasn’t until around 8:30 that they finally blocked off the rail crossing completely and within minutes the big crane was going into action removing a section of guardrail that would be in the way of the new track. Since they would be working into the night laying down a gravel bed for the new tracks, they brought in a big light unit. By then, Tony Sherman, from Quality Concrete Cutting had finished both the shallow cuts and then the deep cuts in the asphalt and the crane moved into position to start ripping it all up. The right turn lane on westbound Rollins at Rt. 83 was blocked off so that there would no longer be a center lane. Cars in the left lane will be forced to go south on Rt. 83 towards Shorewood or Washington Street and cars in the right lane will be forced to go north towards Hook Drive or Monaville. The lights at the intersection were all flashing red when I left but they may have that changed Saturday to allow free flow traffic on Rt. 83. Traffic was backed up all the way to Hook Drive as cars lined up to turn left (west) in the short turning lane.
In the video below you will also see all the new curbing that has been added to the concrete slabs in front of the Mallard Creek Shopping Center. You will also see the standing water on the east side of the new railroad bridge that was way up on some of the vehicle’s tires earlier before they were able to move them to higher ground. Even though they now have a few pumps running off of a big generator, this will still set them back in that area for several days and more rain is expected. Another future holdup is the Edison lines. South of Rollins along the west side of Rt. 83 is a gigantic tower that needs to be moved since it is directly in the way of the future Rt. 83 as it will rise from the lowered intersection. To the north, there are also a number of electric poles that are in the way and also need to be moved.
Rollins Closure at R.R. tracks starts Friday evening about 7:00
Although there are plans to completely close traffic beginning Friday night thru Monday morning at the Rollins Road R.R. crossing, I was able to shoot a short video showing that tracks have already been installed on the bridge itself. While waiting in traffic Wednesday night I also snapped a photo that shows all the dirt piled up on the east side of the temporary Route 83 vehicle bridge. This will all have to be hauled away as the contractors will begin the process of joining the east with the west. According to the resident engineer, Mark Molnar, they are hoping to have traffic on Rollins Road running under the railroad by Labor Day. Weather permitting, theyhope to have all of the pavement portion done by Thanksgiving but some things, like sidewalks and landscaping may extend out into 2015. The following short video shows the newly installed tracks (don’t blink or you will miss it) as well as the ongoing excavation that has been going on in front of Arby’s and Grease Monkey on the west side.
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Great new aerial views June 7, 2014
Once again Tom Bock who works for Home Towne Electric, the contractor doing the signal work on the project, sent me two new aerial views of the project that he took from his airplane. In the first photo below you will see the concrete work being done in front of Mallard Creek Shopping Center where the future Rollins Road meets Hainesville Road. I’m not sure if the void between the concrete will get filled with concrete or end up with some type of barrier wall to prevent eastbound traffic from turning into the shopping plaza as planned. Eastbound traffic will be required to enter off Mallard Creek Drive or the main entrance west of McDonald’s.
The second photo is a view looking northwest showing Avon school and more of the east side of the project. Once again, I thank Tom for sending these photos so that they can be shared here. There are links under each photo that will allow you to view a larger photo view in a new browser window.
The last update we have today shows the construction area in front of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Little Caesar’s, Jimmy Johns, and others in the strip along Route 83 just south of Hook Drive where they are in the process of building a newer concrete retaining wall that will move Rt. 83 several feet further west to align with the new intersection at Rollins Road. You may find parking a challenge in those parking lots when the concrete starts being poured. As I left that lot and traveled south on Rt. 83 you will begin to see the massive concrete retaining wall along the eastern side of the new railroad bridge. Closer to the guard rail in the video you will see the steel that has already been driven deep into the ground for the concrete wall that will run along the west side of Rt. 83 as it approaches the new lower-grade intersection with Rollins. Then, heading west on Rollins you can see the cavern that is being dug out so that once the temporary rail is removed, they can bust thru underneth the brand new railroad bridge to meet up with the easterly side.