Winnetka intersection upgrades get green light
Hundreds of New Trier students funnel through the intersection at Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue before and after school. The Winnetka Village Council approved funding Feb. 5 to improve the intersection. | Steve Schering~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 15, 2013 10:32AM
There is finally light at the end of the tunnel for the intersection improvements at Green Bay Road and Winnetka Avenue, an intersection just blocks away from New Trier High School.
At their Feb. 5 Village Council meeting, Winnetka trustees approved a nearly $650,000 contract with Hometowne Electric, Inc. for the project, which includes new traffic signals and improvements to the roadway for motorists and pedestrians.
Plans for an improved intersection date back to 2004 when the village began preliminary work to modernize and improve the 25-year-old traffic signals at Green Bay and Winnetka.
With Green Bay Road falling under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation, it was necessary to obtain IDOT’s review and approval for the proposed project. The ensuing years saw the village obtain 11 separate variances from other IDOT standard design requirements which further increased the scope of work and cost of the project.
According to a village memo, IDOT’s review and revision led to additional requirements being evaluated, including analyzing geometry and traffic safety of the intersection, analyzing the need to extend turning bays and tapers, reviewing the ability of school buses to make the sharp turn from northbound Green Bay Road to eastbound Winnetka Ave. and other items which led to the expansion and delay of the original work.
With the approval, village engineer Steve Saunders said the project is estimated to run 16-18 weeks and is expected to start during New Trier High School’s spring break, which begins March 23. The contractor plans to complete the project before school begins again in fall 2013.
“Unfortunately the amount of work involved will interrupt the school term at one end or the other,” Saunders said, adding that New Trier preferred the work to occur at the end of a school year as apposed to the beginning.
The council chose not to accept the lowest bid of $609,900 from Chicagoland Paving Contractors, Inc. because they could not meet the requirement of self-performing not less than 50 percent of the work for the project.
“(With Chicagoland), traffic signal work would be subcontracted and that is well in excess of half the contract,” Saunders said.
The final design calls for new dedicated left-turn lanes and arrows for each approach and moving the Pace bus stop from the southwest corner of the intersection to the northwest corner, eliminating one street crossing for students.
“This is a project that is necessary for the safety of the intersection and the high school students,” said trustee Richard Kates before the council’s unanimous vote.
The village’s draft of the 2013-14 budget prepared $500,000 of motor fuel tax funding for the project while the state has pledged to contribute another $100,000. The additional $49,861 will be accommodated by the village managing other budgeted capital projects.~.