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News: 2006 Archived News Items

Lake County Transportation Management Center officially opens

Lake County celebrated the completion of a key component of its intelligent transportation system when the Transportation Management Center (TMC) officially opened in February. The 4,700 square-foot facility houses technology and staff resources needed for Lake County PASSAGE, the name given to the county's system.

“The county is limited to investing about $22 million annually for road construction projects and it can cost as much as $4 million to build one mile of new roadway,” according to County Board Member Diana O'Kelly, chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee. “One way to address congestion is to use intelligent transportation to more efficiently utilize the roads we already have in place.”

According to Lake County Board Chairman Suzi Schmidt, Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Mark Kirk negotiated $3.6 million to date in federal funding toward the $6.8 million cost of the initial phase of PASSAGE. This initial phase includes construction of the facility, connecting an initial communications network of 79-miles of fiber optic cable to interconnect traffic signals and purchasing and installing technology at the TMC. The TMC building was constructed at a cost of $1.3 million in federal funding.

The initial phase involves interconnecting 150 signals throughout Lake County. Additional signals will be added in later phases and will eventually include the county's entire network of 661 traffic signals. A second part of the initial phase to be completed in 2006 includes expanding state/ county signal interconnects, expanding communications, upgrading software, and enhancing and expanding field equipment.

Phase 2, anticipated to begin in 2007, again includes expanding county/state signal interconnects, expanding networks of interconnected signals to include municipalities, and enhancing field elements with additional equipment such as static and pan/ tilt/zoom cameras. Congressman Kirk and Congresswoman Melissa Bean, along with staff representing Senator Barack Obama, noted at the TMC grand opening ceremony that an additional $3.2 million in federal funding has been secured to begin the next phase.

In the future, travel times on arterial roadways will be provided via portable changeable message signs, a PASSAGE website and Highway Advisory Radio (1620 AM). Three radio transmitter towers are already in place along the Tollway (I-94) and three additional towers will be added in western Lake County. Highway Advisory Radio uses technology and computerized voice software to automatically broadcast messages when problems occur on arterial roadways.

“To reduce gridlock, we need to widen and expand roads. We also need to manage intersections better using the latest hi-tech equipment. This center will help us to spend less time on the road and more time with our families,” Kirk said at the grand opening ceremony. “It will be a model for reducing traffic congestion that plagues Chicago's suburbs.”

Also attending the grand opening ceremony were officials from the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Tollway, and local communities.

For more information, contact Martin Buehler,  , or 847-362- 3950.

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