Revisions to the Weiland/Prairie road expansion plan were presented Thursday night along with an engineering firm’s recommendation as to which improvement option will best serve the community in the coming years.
Changes to the proposed roadwork include:
- Scaling Weiland and Prairie down to two lanes between Aptakisic Road and Route 22. The original plan called for four-lane roads.
- Narrower medians and designated lanes for experienced and inexperienced bicyclists on Weiland between Lake-Cook and Aptakisic.
- The installation of a traffic signal at Weiland Road and Thompson Boulevard.
- The elimination of noise walls at Deerfield Parkway and Route 22; the elimination of noise walls south of Deerfield Parkway; and lower noise walls at the southwest and southeast corners of Weiland and Pauline.
After reviewing three options for accommodating traffic, Bob Andres, an engineer at Civiltech, which the village contracted for the road study, said the best solution is to construct a connecting road between Weiland and Prairie roads. Such a road would have a minimal impact on existing residences and businesses, he said. It would require the acquisition of two homes and one business and the purchase of 16 other parcels.
The option is superior to widening Aptakisic Road to six lanes without building a connection road, he said, because while that option would not claim any homes or businesses, it would require the purchase of 38 other properties and the construction of noise walls.
Nearly 100 residents packed into the village chambers to learn about the plans and share their thoughts. Some asked in skeptical tones how the cost of the road project — which some claim will be $100 million — might be shouldered, while others expressed concerns about negative impacts on property values. And, after watching simulations of “now” and “then” traffic patterns, some said they don’t believe the improvements will solve rush-hour traffic woes that are exacerbated by the arrivals of trains.
“This is a toxic project, in my opinion,” said Buffalo Grove resident Tim O’Connor, who is among a group that organized in opposition to the expansion. “I haven’t heard yet a reason why this is a good project. All I’ve have heard is mumbo jumbo, consulting mumbo jumbo, and charts.
“I think the project right now is going to cost green space, a lot of money and upheaval in this community.”
A newly completed study by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning indicates that traffic on Weiland Road will increase 10 percent by 2040, while volume on Prairie Road will rise by 20 percent. Initial projections cited a 52 percent increase on Weiland and a 120 percent increase on Prairie by 2030. Factored into the projections are expectations that a number of roads, including Lake-Cook, Buffalo Grove Road and Route 53, will be widened or extended by 2040.
While some expressed doubt that traffic volume will grow considerably over the next three decades, Andres assured residents that it is likely, stating that actual traffic counts often end up above projections.
“The forecasts aren’t as wildly off as people think they are,” he said.
Public comments regarding the revised plan can be added to will be accepted through June 23. Comments can be mailed to: Village of Buffalo Grove, Mr. Gregory P. Boysen, P.E., 51 Raupp Boulevard, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089 or emailed to Boysen at email@example.com.
Engineers will review the feedback and draft a recommendation. A meeting regarding highway noise is tentatively scheduled for October, which will be followed by a public hearing in November.
A comprehensive road project would require approval from the Village of Buffalo Grove as well as county officials. Village Manager Dane Bragg said expenses, which have not been determined, would be shared by the village and counties. Funding could be earmarked locally and could be complemented by state and federal money, he said.