Cook County

Cook County (Tribune illustration / March 25, 2012)

Tinley Park's village engineer says the Illinois Department of Transportation's pending lighting upgrade at Oak Park Avenue's southern gateway won't stop that intersection's eventual transformation into a roundabout.

"The roundabout is three years into the future," Chris King of Robinson Engineering said at a recent village board meeting.

The issue arose at the meeting as trustees discussed IDOT's plans for switching out the current bulb-based lights to light-emitting diode modules, adding countdown pedestrian signals and providing an uninterruptible power supply to ensure continuity at the Oak Park Avenue-183rd Street intersection.

IDOT will have full responsibility, from preparing plans and specifications to managing the project, but wants affected villages to contribute. Tinley Park is being asked for $7,807 - approximately 3 percent - for upgrades to portions of 10 intersections within its corporate limits.

Prior to the unanimous vote authorizing the agreement with IDOT, King told trustees the roundabout's construction schedule should provide time to recoup the cost of the new lighting equipment.

"I don't think we have a choice in this," said Trustee Tom Staunton, who heads the public works committee.

Tinley Park officials contend a roundabout would reduce traffic problems at the 183rd Street-Oak Park intersection, which receives traffic surges from a music venue, convention center and an interstate exchange nearby. The European-style roundabout eliminates left turns, forcing traffic to slow down as it moves around a center island while encouraging traffic entering the roundabout to yield to vehicles already there.

In December, King predicted construction-related acquisitions and other preparatory work could begin as early as 2015.

IDOT has endorsed the project, which is eligible for more than a million dollars in grants.

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