“It’s a real son of a gun,” said Palatine resident Peter Dones, “Just a pain for everyone who comes through here.” Dones, who lives on Quentin Road, said the construction on his street has turned into what seems to be a never-ending project.
Dones said no one seems to have any sense of urgency to finish the work, crews come and go as they please and that’s if they even show up at all. “We didn’t see them for weeks, maybe a month and then they came back and now they’re gone, where are they right now?” Dones said outside of his home Tuesday.
Like many people in Palatine, Dones’ patience has worn thin, “When are they going to be done?” Dones asked, “Does anybody even know?”
“ASAP,” said John Yonan, Superintendent of the Cook County Highway Department, “We want this done as soon as possible.”
But of course, different people have different ideas of when “ASAP” is.
Almost three weeks ago, Village Manager Reid Ottesen said, “I don’t think they have more than two weeks of work left, they just need to get moving.”
Ottesen sent a letter to the county at the end of August to ask all the barricades to be removed and replaced with temporary markings to make Quentin Road easier and more convenient to navigate.
Superintendent of Cook County Highways, Yonan said that would have just cost the county more money. “Obviously we were not going to remove barricades because they would have to go right back up,” said Yonan.
Ottesen sent the letter to the county after construction on the 2.1-mile stretch of Quentin Road came to a screeching halt. Crews were noticeably absent and no work was done on the Palatine project for about a month.
“Paving operations were held back but we were never behind,” Yonan said, “Nothing that we did as a county slowed or delayed construction.”
The contractor worked ahead of schedule, poured all of the concrete and then asked the county to use a different mix of asphalt from what was originally agreed upon in the county’s contract. Yonan said, “It veered from the agreed mix design so we had to approve it again.”
According to Yonan, the county did not have a problem with the new asphalt mix, using bits of recycled roof shingles, Yonan said the proposed mix design was “greener and cheaper” than the materials the contractor was supposed to use to resurface Quentin Road.
Cook County agreed to go with the new asphalt mix but because the new mix cost less than the original asphalt design, the county asked for a credit. “We did play hard ball, I mean yea, those negotiations are part of it,” Yonan said the contractor and the county went back and fourth negotiating the amount of money to be credited to the county.
By the time the county and the contractor agreed on the asphalt design mix and pricing, Yonan said three or four weeks had passed.
“The county was not driving the bus on that,” Yonan said, “We had all that figured out in the contract but the contractor wanted to do something different.”
According to Yonan, if he would have known the project was going to be abandoned for as long as it was, the county would have taken down the barriers as Ottesen suggested.
“We’re always considerate of the public, so looking back, yea, we probably should have done something to make it easier,” Yonan said.
Lesson learned, Yonan said Cook County wants to finish up the project at quick as it can but now, crews are fighting a different battle. Yanon said, “This is temperature sensitive which may cancel incumbent runs, so this could be touch and go.”
Because the contractor got ahead early on, the project is on budget and still on schedule. Yonan said weather permitting, Quentin Road could be complete as early as Oct. 21, but the county’s official deadline is not until Thanksgiving.