Overview

The Illinois Route 131 (IL 131) project stretches for 7.3 miles from the Wisconsin/Illinois state line (Russell Road) south to Sunset Avenue. The project is located in portions of the City of Zion, the Village of Wadsworth, the Village of Beach Bark and the City of Waukegan, Benton Township, Newport Township and Waukegan Township in northeastern Lake County, Illinois.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is managing the IL 131 project in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Alternatives for improving IL 131 were developed through the IDOT's Phase I study process, which uses environmental and engineering studies to find solutions for transportation problems. IDOT is also using a process called context sensitive solutions, or CSS, to involve local stakeholders early and often in the decisions about the project. Stakeholders include residents and other interested parties who can help IDOT understand the needs for, and concerns about, a project.

IL 131 is a Strategic Regional Arterial (SRA) and part of the National Highway System. This means that IL 131 serves as a key north-south route which supplements the expressway system by moving long-distance, high-volume automobile and commercial vehicle traffic in northeastern Illinois. The existing IL 131 roadway is two lanes with turn lanes at major intersections throughout the project area. In general, the existing land use is industrial and agricultural between Russell Road and IL 173. The land use changes to mostly single-family residential and commercial between IL 173 and Sunset Avenue. The project area also includes several recreational areas and the Waukegan National Airport.

The proposed IL 131 improvements will meet the following needs:

In addition, the proposed improvements will meet the goal of improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities along IL 131.

Kenosha Road Project

Preliminary engineering and environmental studies (Phase I) for the improvement of IL 131 from 29th Street to Kenosha Road were finalized on July 27,2015. The Department is currently in the process of finalizing contract plan preparation and land acquisition (Phase II).

This improvement is included in the Department's FY 2017-2022 Proposed Highway Improvement Program, utilizing funding through the federal Highway Safety Improvement program. Our current engineering efforts are targeted to enable a contract letting in the early years of our current multi-year program contingent upon plan readiness, land acquisition, and funding availability through our future annual legislative appropriations. The general scope of work for this improvement consists of moving Kenosha Road to the north to improve the angle of the intersection with IL 131, installing traffic signals at the intersection, and constructing a median on IL 131 between 29th Street and the realigned Kenosha Road to accommodate turn lanes.

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