Sometimes the significance of a roadway improvement is larger than the improvement itself. One such project is the recently completed Audrey Nixon Boulevard (formerly 14th Street) Reconstruction, which stretches from IL Route 131 to Jackson Street in North Chicago and Waukegan. Civiltech provided Phase I and II Engineering Services for the Lake County Division of Transportation on this important project which provided transformational pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facility improvements. The project also includes a newly constructed roundabout at the intersection of 14th Street and Dugdale Road.

The communities of North Chicago and Waukegan lacked much needed access to local amenities and connectivity to the communities at large. A stakeholder group ensured that solutions balanced community and technical needs and included community leaders, business owners, and residents. Safe and equitable transit access was a critical component of this project with 11 bus stop pads and 6 shelters installed along 14th Street for local pace users.

The former “goat paths,” trodden paths where no pedestrian facility exists, were replaced with an 8-foot shared-use path on the north side of the street and a 5-foot sidewalk on the south side. Street lighting, crosswalks, and pedestrian refuge islands were installed to increase pedestrian safety. Also, the shared-use path connected local bicyclists with regional bikeways, not to mention an improved facility for walkers and runners.

On October 6, 2021, Civiltech staff joined representatives of the Lake County Board, cities of North Chicago and Waukegan, Lake County Division of Transportation and other community members to mark the completion of the project and to celebrate the renaming of the street to Audrey Nixon Boulevard. The ceremony recognized Audrey Nixon who had served as a long-term and distinguished chairwoman of the County Board’s Law and Judicial committee and had served on the Lake County Board from 1982 until 2017.

Civiltech is proud to have had a significant role in this project. The Audrey Nixon Boulevard (14th Street) Reconstruction not only improves the roadway, it provides an entire community with equitable access to all modes of transportation and amenities. Also, the improvements help revitalize an important regional corridor and provide much needed community connection.