Northfield, News

‘Pedestrian island’ highlights Northfield’s plans to improve safety along Happ Road

The Northfield Village Board gave the green light to Phase 2 of the Happ Road construction project, but groundbreaking on the improvements are still months away.

The project is designed to improve safety for motorists and pedestrians along Happ Road from Winnetka Road to Willow Road, according to the village officials.

Doing that involves reconstructing the roadway to address pavement condition, replacing the shoulders and drainage ditches, adding a left turn lane to separate opposing flows of traffic and create a dedicated area for turning vehicles, adding a multi-use path along the west side of Happ Road, and creating a pedestrian refuge island near Happ Road Park, according to Village Manager Stacy Sigman.

The project is split into three phases: preliminary engineering and environmental study to inform proposals for Phase 2; the development of a statement of work and draft plans for construction; and the groundbreaking after funding is secured.

The safety-improvement project would include an additional path and “pedestrian refuge circle at Happ and Orland Lane. | Images from Village of Northfield

In collaboration, the Village and independent contractor Patrick Engineering prepared a contract plan for engineering and land acquisition services in preparation to break ground — which was approved by the Village Board Tuesday, Aug. 17 — to forward to both Cook County and Illinois Departments of Transportation for approval.

“The contract was approved by my board unanimously and now needs to go to IDOT, as the project is being funded with federal Surface Transportation Funds and Cook County,” Sigman told The Record. “Unfortunately, that IDOT review and approval process can take 6-18 months, and it is unlikely any of the Phase 2 work can start until we receive their sign off.”

The project costs will be covered at the county level, and Cook County will be responsible for the funding and matching grant funds. The village should only be responsible for project enhancements, such as decorative lighting, site furnishing and plantings, according to the village.  

The Village of Northfield is exploring various signage options to improve the Happ Road corridor.

Once those elements are finalized, the village hopes to secure Illinois Enhancement Transportation Funds to reduce the cost of those additions.

But before any action steps can be taken, the Village and its project partners await IDOT’s decision to sign off on their plans.

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Alayne Trinko

Alayne Trinko is an editorial intern who assists the editor-in-chief in reporting hyperlocal news, developing engaging multimedia, and building community trust. Alayne was a staff writer and Focus section editor for The DePaulia, DePaul University’s student-run newspaper. Alayne will be a junior studying journalism this fall and hopes to study abroad to conduct social justice reporting on women’s reproductive health issues in Africa or India in summer 2022. Follow her on Twitter @AlayneTrinko.

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