State begins Route 12 resurfacing projects

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

The Illinois Department of Transportation has begun work on nearly 13 miles of Route 12, from Route 31 in Richmond to Route 120 in Volo. Construction will continue through the summer and fall. (Photo courtesy of Illinois Department of Transportation)

Construction season has opened with the Illinois Department of Transportation initiating work on U.S. Route 12, a state thoroughfare.

With State Park Road deemed as the midway point, crews will head north to Route 31 and south to Route 120 simultaneously. The work will span both Lake and McHenry counties

The projects were announced in mid-May, with the goal being to resurface the roadbed and install guardrails by a planned November completion date.

“As part of maintaining Illinois roads, IDOT monitors pavement conditions and identifies appropriate road pavement and rehabilitation projects in line with IDOT’s Transportation Asset Management Plan,” said IDOT spokesperson Maria Castaneda. “A federal requirement, the TAMP guidelines, define which roadway classifications are identified as highest priority for funding.

“It also identifies the necessary treatment for pavement improvements depending on existing surface and subsurface conditions. Based on the most recent Condition Rating Survey data, Route 12 was highlighted.”

Areas with the highest pavement rehabilitation needs included the U.S. Route 12 corridor. The 6.7-mile north leg stretch of State Park Road/East Street to Illinois Route 31 in Richmond will cost $5.5 million.

The 6.1-mile south leg of State Park Road to Route 120 in Volo is budgeted for $6.6 million. It will also feature the construction of American with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk ramps.

Access to businesses and residences within the work zones will be maintained during the construction period. The IDOT announcement stated motorists could see delays and should allow extra time when traveling in the areas.

However, many downtown areas have their commercial centers along U.S. Route 12 including Richmond, Spring Grove, Fox Lake, and Volo. They could see an impact with drivers seeking alternatives to navigate the traffic congestion. The state thoroughfare is a major traffic artery going between Illinois and Wisconsin.

“They say that there are really only two seasons, construction and winter … we are happy it’s being done,” said Richmond Mayor Toni Wardanian. “Fixing roads, fixing potholes, it’s a good thing at the end of the day. There are definitely other roads, but

folks still go through town, two lanes. We see a silver lining when they stop and see our businesses.

“I’m wildly optimistic about all things because we get a new road, people driving through with cars will see our businesses. The north end by the weigh station and south, at the high school, are getting worked on, so this all fits together … we get a new road.”

Castaneda reiterated the connection point at State Park Road was a good starting place, headed out to different points in direction.

“These projects, which are anticipated to be completed in November, are taking place concurrently and will resurface U.S. Route 12, from Illinois Route 31 to Belvidere Road.”

Intermittent daytime lane closures will occur, and drivers should pay close attention to flaggers and signs in the work zones.

The unincorporated areas of McHenry County on the route will also benefit from the project with federal funding.

The TAMP program is federally mandated and “risk-based in describing how the state’s roads and bridges will be managed to achieve system performance effectiveness and state DOT targets for asset condition,” according to an IDOT statement. “(It accounts) for managing the risks in a financially responsible manner, at a minimum practicable cost over the life cycle of its assets.”

Over the next decade, IDOT is planning to improve more than 3,000 miles of highway and nearly 10 million square feet of bridge deck as part of Rebuild Illinois, which is investing $33.2 billion into all modes of transportation.