This year, the Lake County Division of Transportation (LCDOT) will celebrate 100 years of service to Lake County. A transportation system that started out as dirt roads is now an impressive network of safe and efficient roadways, intersections, roundabouts and bike paths.
In 1913, most of the roads in Illinois were made of dirt and inclement weather made them impossible to navigate. There was a growing movement to develop a hard roads system to "get Illinois out of the mud." Under the Tice Act of 1913, the state legislature created the County Superintendent of Highways position, shifting the responsibility for building the road system in Illinois from the townships to the counties.
100 years later, the LCDOT is responsible for more than 300 miles of roadway, more than 50 miles of bike paths, and is about to embark on the most ambitious construction season in history.
Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor explained, "The County Board made a commitment to invest and improve in our transportation infrastructure by dedicating 100% of the ¼ cent sales tax to improving transportation. Over the next five years, Lake County will spend $557 million toward transportation."
While the State created LCDOT to build roads, the overall transportation system has evolved to include so much more. "System expansion is exciting and makes a big impact, however investing in system preservation and new technology is equally as important. We do this by maintaining our roads, making existing roads work better, and making our entire system smarter with Lake County PASSAGE," explained Paula Trigg, the LCDOT Director and County Engineer.
In order to have the biggest impact, LCDOT has a regional view of how the transportation system in Lake County should operate. Diana O'Kelly, the Chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee said, "When drivers are faced with traffic congestion, they don't care who has jurisdiction over the road, they just want to see improvements. Lake County works with local and state agencies to address transportation problems and move projects forward - no matter who is responsible for the road."
Throughout the year, LCDOT will be celebrating this milestone with pictures, videos, stories and special events. Make sure to check the website for updates, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook with "#lcdot100". If you have special memories of the evolution of the Lake County road network, or historic pictures that you'd like to share - send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the history of the LCDOT.