Improving Safety of Hunt Club Road at Grand Avenue

Firm:Stanley Consultants

Other Consultants:Landmark Contractors, American Surveying & Engineering, P.C., Santacruz Land Acquisitions, Wang Engineering, Inc., Huff & Huff, BLA, Inc.

Owner: Lake County Division of Transportation

Description:THE PROBLEM - An inadequate left-turn design on Hunt Club Road caused the intersection to be one of the most accident-prone in Lake County. With insufficient time to make a protected left turn, drivers often took dangerous chances.

THE SOLUTION - The project added dual left turn lanes on Hunt Club Road, rebalanced the storage of the opposing left turn lanes on Grand Avenue and added right turn lanes on both roads, as well as ADA curb ramps and pedestrian signals and crossings.

An initial plan set was developed in anticipation of obtaining 17 temporary construction easements from commercial businesses for safety improvements to be made concurrently with the turn lane additions. These included a mix of “have to” easements on the right of way and “want to” easements on commercial property. However, easement delays threatened to stall the project. To maintain the schedule, the project was redesigned to remove components requiring “want to” easements. When these easements were secured during construction the revised plans were provided to the contractor. This methodology worked because the sidewalks requiring the “want to” easements were outside of the public right-of-way and within private property for the shopping centers.

The unusual fluidity of the project delivery system allowed the project to move forward rather than delaying construction until all 17 easements were secured. This ultimately prevented two years’ worth of accidents in a high volume, high crash intersection.

Developing the bid documents in this fashion could be applied to future projects where land acquisition for non-critical elements could be removed from the project and allow for construction to proceed while the acquisition process continues.

Driver and pedestrian safety was the impetus for the project, which had overwhelming public support. Many of the easements were to bring intersections lacking pedestrian signal lights, pushbuttons or handicap accessibility into ADA compliance and prevent pedestrians from having to dodge cars to cross nine lanes of traffic. During construction work was staged so pedestrians could navigate safely through the intersection, and the project team worked with Pace to identify temporary bus stops to allow the use of public transportation.

The intersection is located in a highly commercial area adjacent to Gurnee Mills Mall. The six-month construction schedule was successfully compressed to five after receiving business input requesting work be completed before the start of the holiday shopping season.

“The solution met our goals spot on,” said Lake Country Project Manager Darrell Kuntz. “We received exactly what we wanted. It checked all the boxes.”

Lake County Division of Transportation

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