­Village of Libertyville and Libertyville Township

Rockland Road​ Improvement Project

Including Rockland Road over Des Plaines River Bridge Rehabilitation

Two Jurisdictions – One Stretch of Road 

Through collaboration and coordination, the Village and the Township teamed up to undertake a substantial and critical corridor improvement. Working together, they reconstructed 1.4 miles of Rockland Road between IL Route 21 (Milwaukee Avenue) and St. Mary’s Road. The Des Plaines River lies at the approximate midpoint of the project, with the Village jurisdiction to the west and the Township jurisdiction to the east. With the separate jurisdictions, the project was divided into two contracts. However, it was coordinated and managed as one project the length of the corridor.

From Concept to Completion – A Full Delivery Process

The Rockland Road Improvement projects are an outstanding example of Civiltech’s full delivery process. Civiltech provided Phase I studies, Phase II Design Engineering, and Phase III Construction Engineering on the projects and helped both agencies secure STP funding. Reconstruction of the bridge was not included, but is now a separate Phase I study currently underway by Civiltech. With our integrated teams, in-house specialized services, and extensive knowledge management program, we guided this complex and multi-faceted project smoothly through all engineering phases.

Within the Village Jurisdiction

Rockland Road is a two-lane major collector street that carries approximately 6,000 vehicles per day and is signalized at the west and east terminus intersections. The Village jurisdiction is an urban cross-section with curb and gutter and an enclosed drainage system. Resurfacing projects over the past few decades had resulted in the concrete gutter being overlaid resulting in only an inch or two of curb height remaining. The roadway was reconstructed in place as the pavement had reached the end of its design life. A new storm sewer trunk line was installed to drain the roadway as well as provide relief for a residential storm water flooding problem toward the west end of the project. During the design the Village completed a flood relief study that recommended upsizing the 48” storm sewer to 84” that outlets into the Des Plaines River. In addition, the project replaced an aging water main trunk line.

Within the Township Jurisdiction

The existing roadway is a tree-lined 24-foot paved rural cross-section drained by open ditches and swales. It had also reached the end of its design life. Over the years, there had been resident requests for better pedestrian and cyclist access to the Des Plaines River Trail which runs north-south along the east side of the river through the Des Plaines River Greenway, a Lake County Forest Preserve facility, and crosses Rockland Road at-grade with a mid-block marked crosswalk. Several alternatives were evaluated, including a shared-use path, wider bicycle-friendly shoulders, and an urban cross-section with curb and gutter and bike lanes. As a result of technical analyses and feedback received at a neighborhood meeting facilitated by Civiltech’s Phase I team and due to the limited right of way, the Township chose to construct four-foot bike-friendly shoulders as part of the proposed improvement.

Mitigating Flooding

The risk of reoccurring flooding that was previously experienced within the adjacent neighborhoods has been significantly reduced. Runoff now has the ability to pass through the huge new drainage system before ultimately being dispersed as a slow and clean stream into the Des Plaines River.

But What About the Bridge?

The Rockland Road Bridge over the Des Plaines River is a three-span prestressed concrete deck (PPC) deck beam bridge with a steel truss façade that is jointly maintained by the Village of Libertyville and Libertyville Township. The existing bridge is a 150-ft long by 33-ft wide and was constructed in 1989. The floor beams, stringers and grid flooring were removed and supplemental structural steel had been added to widen the truss bridge allowing it to sit over the wider PPC deck beam bridge. The truss bridge was originally constructed in 1921 over the Kaskaskia River at Vandalia, Illinois. In 1962, the bridge was dismantled, transported and re-erected in Libertyville to carry Rockland Road over Des Plaines River.

Deficiencies and a Replacement

As part of a separate Phase I project, Civiltech performed an in-depth inspection of the bridge and determined the PPC deck beam superstructure to be in poor condition due to deterioration observed in a few of the exterior deck beams. Other significant deficiencies included the severely corroded bottom chords of the trusses and the deteriorated pedestrian railing. Civiltech prepared a Bridge Condition Report (BCR) that described the condition of the bridge and recommend a scope of work for the bridge. Because the PPC deck beam superstructure cannot be economically repaired and will continue to deteriorate, the recommended scope of work was a complete bridge replacement. ­The replacement bridge was proposed to be a 3-span 27″ PPC I-Beam bridge approximately 174′ long and 48′ wide.

During an inspection in February of 2018, the bottom chord was determined to have lost a significant amount of section, resulting in the truss posing an undue safety hazard. The truss was consequently removed in March of 2018.

Collaboration During Construction

Working within two jurisdictions and with two separate prime contractors combined with the installation of a massive 84” diameter storm sewer pipe down the center of Rockland Road on the Village side of the projects presented unique challenges requiring outstanding construction management techniques. Civiltech assigned a senior Resident Engineer to provide overall communication and coordination between the two projects. Then, two Assistant Resident Engineers were each assigned to the separate projects. This creative approach ensured that both projects were completed on schedule since potential conflicts were carefully coordinated.

Complex Traffic Control

Traffic control was critical to not only keeping traffic moving safely through the tight space around the extensive excavations on the Village side and maintaining a safe work zone, but to ensure that traffic movement and detours were coordinated and made sense for the length of the corridor in both jurisdictions. Timing was everything when it came to ensuring that both contractors completed their work in each MOT stage prior to switching.

Environmental Concerns

The installation of the storm sewer was challenging due to the high water table adjacent to the Des Plaines River. Civiltech assisted the contractor in developing a dewatering system that brought down the water table in the trench and steadied the trench walls from their continued cave-ins. Water within the system was required to be properly treated so that sediment would not enter the river. Using a series of massive pumps, flog logs, sediment bags, and settling basins – the discharged water was clean as it flowed back into the Des Plaines River.

An Award Winner

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, the Rockland Road Improvement Project was awarded the APWA Lake Branch Project of the Year in the Transportation/$5M to $25M category. The project was jointly nominated by our clients, the Village of Libertyville and the Libertyville Township Road District.

This Project Incorporates the Following:

  • One road, 2 jurisdictions, and a bridge
  • New storm sewer trunk line
  • Water main trunk line replacement
  • Shared use path design
  • Bicycle friendly shoulders
  • Environmental considerations
  • Complex maintenance of traffic
  • Flood mitigation
  • Agency collaboration
  • Full delivery process
  • STP Funding

Scope of Services

Roadway Project
  • Traffic Analysis
  • Crash Analysis
  • Geometric Studies
  • Public and Stakeholder Involvement
  • Project Development Report (PDR)
  • Interagency Coordination
  • Roadway Reconstruction
  • Drainage Design
  • Water Main Design
  • Preparation of Contract Plans, Specifications, & Estimates
  • Construction Engineering
  • Resident Engineering
Bridge Project
  • Bridge Inspection
  • Bridge Condition Report Preparation
  • Bridge Load Rating
  • Hydrologic and Hydraulic Analyses
  • Environmental Permitting

Learn more about this project
and its related services.

Contact Jon Vana