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Merchants Question Why Construction Projects Underway at Same Time

Patch looks at how the Lake Cook Road reconstruction got the green light despite concerns.

Given major road projects are occurring at two major intersections just north, the Cook County Highway Department’s (CCHD) comprehensive work on Lake Cook Road creates another thorn in the side of drivers trying to make their way around the city of Deerfield this summer.   

The Lake Cook construction, under the direction of the county highway department, finally got a green light after years of being on the books, officials said. The project involves a 1.2 mile stretch of roadway from Wilmot Road to Pfingsten Road, and includes work on pavement patching, traffic signals, water mains and manholes. The project also includes the creation of additional lanes. 

News that the CCHD would start the project this year raised concerns for Deerfield officials given the fact that they had already put into place the contracts and funding for the underpass project on Deerfield Road.

Earlier: 

“We were told the project wasn’t funded,” said Robert Phillips, Deerfield’s assistant engineer and manager of the underpass project. But Phillips said the county was able to break the project into two parts and move forward.

“Ours has been publicly out there,” said Aaron Lebowitz, resident engineer with the CCHD and project manager of Lake Cook work.

He said his department was supposed to do the work last year, but had to bow out due to the tollway improvement project along interstate highway.

“We do try and coordinate as much as possible with other agencies,” said Lebowitz, who noted that the surrounding businesses and residents would benefit from significantly improved traffic flows once the project was completed.

But, as the first two articles in this series explored, local businesses have concerns in the meantime.  

Scott Kane of has offices on Lake Cook Road.

“There’s no way to go east," he said, noting the multiple road projects. "We have clients coming to our space from all over the city and I can’t give anybody shortcuts.”

Kane also expressed concern for , a restaurant that opened just ahead of the project. “We like the restaurant, but we don’t want to deal with the traffic,” he said.

While the Deerfield underpass project should start winding down in August, the Lake Cook project is expected to be finished sometime in the fall, and road construction on Half Day Road is expected to last at least through next year.

“Construction is everywhere” and cutting into business, said Alexander Kesel, owner of the Bannockburn Shoe World & Repair in the Bannockburn Green shopping center. He said that now the projects had started, there was little merchants thought they could do to manage the situation. 

"We have no recourse," said Jill Braverman of the , also in Bannockburn Green. "Couldn't someone have taken out a map and said, 'If they're doing this, maybe we shouldn't do this?'"

This is Patch's third and final article in a three part series on local road construction and how it's affecting area businesses. to read more about the work on Deerfield Road's underpass and to find out what merchant's have to say about the construction on Half Day Road. 

Vortex July 25, 2011 at 02:41 PM
The Deerfield Road closure was originally scheduled to end on July 15, then it was pushed back to July 22. Now it's into August? What is the reason for all the delays?
NB July 25, 2011 at 04:07 PM
It's just not in the nature of local governments to coordinate on construction projects. The only reason the village is doing this project is because there was federal money involved. But they still had to put up some of our tax dollars to make it work. I can't help but wonder how else we could have spent that money on infrastructure (like road paving). On top of that, this job really seems to be done without the convenience of the residents in mind. Why can't they open Drfld Rd. after hours? Why couldn't police help monitor and move traffic over the tracks during rush hour? Why aren't their the radar signs up on Hazel and Ostermann encouraging commuters to slow the heck down? I could go one, but I just get frustrated with this whole thing.

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