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Author Topic: U.S. 12 northwest of Chicago  (Read 1945 times)

A.J. Bertin

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U.S. 12 northwest of Chicago
« on: March 16, 2015, 01:13:48 PM »

Sam Scholtens and I are planning on taking an interesting route from Michigan to Madison WI for the road meet that Scott Onson is hosting next month. Instead of doing the run-of-the-mill I-90 (from Chicago) to I-39, we'll instead take U.S. 12 from Chicago's northwest suburbs all the way to Madison with an overnight stay somewhere in between.

I have a couple questions for anyone who's able to answer:

1. What is U.S. 12 like from, say, Lake Zurich IL to Madison? Lots of traffic? Does it flow well, or should I expect that route to be annoying?

2. On the Friday night, Sam and I want to stay close to Chicago's northwest suburbs so that we can get as much time driving on U.S. 12 in the daylight as possible. I'm not sure whether I should look for a room in Schaumburg or Arlington Heights or if I might find something closer to, say, Lake Zurich or Wauconda. We want to stay at something like a Motel 6, a Super 8, or a Red Roof. There's a motel (I think a Motel 6) in Palatine that has terrible reviews on TripAdvisor, so I think I'm going to avoid that. There's something (I think a Super 8) in Mundelein that has good reviews, but Mundelein is out of the way for us if we want to primarily take U.S. 12 on Friday night and Saturday morning. We don't want to pay a lot for a room, but I'm thinking our best bet may be in the Schaumburg area unless anyone knows of any decent lodging on U.S. 12 around Arlington Heights, Palatine, or Lake Zurich. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Any input would be appreciated!
-A.J. from Michigan


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Re: U.S. 12 northwest of Chicago
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2015, 01:16:57 PM »

I haven't done that road since 1999 but it was pretty dull and full of stoplights as I remember it, but it beats the freeways.  Have fun!


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Re: U.S. 12 northwest of Chicago
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2015, 03:30:22 PM »

Once you leave the freeway (IL-53) at Lake-Cook Road and make your way west to Rand Road, the road is a bit frustrating.

Watch out for the revenue machines..er..red light cameras that multiple municipalities have along Rand Road.

There will be heavy traffic, even on a weekend, and god-forbid you drive on a Friday afternoon.  Until you get to Fox Lake, it will be miles upon miles of signals that are not synchronized.  It's not as bad Saturday morning, as during rush hour.  X-(

I would suggest staying around Schaumburg (I'll be up that way Friday night anyway - Arthur Murray between 8:15 pm and 10 pm).  There's a lot of hotels by the Meijer at I-90 and Arlington Heights Road, as well as over by Woodfield.  Both areas are connected by Golf Road (IL-58).  The Woodfield area has a ton of restaurants.  :colorful:

As for me, I'll drive up I-94 all the way to Madison on Saturday morning.  I still have the section between Wis-16 and I-39/90 to complete.  :D
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Re: U.S. 12 northwest of Chicago
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2015, 05:29:34 PM »

1. What is U.S. 12 like from, say, Lake Zurich IL to Madison? Lots of traffic? Does it flow well, or should I expect that route to be annoying?

Besides the numerous signals between Lake Cook and Fox Lake, there are a couple other spots in Illinois that might be annoying:

1) In Fox Lake, there seems to be congestion around the signal for Grand Avenue - might take two or three cycles to get through.

2) From the right turn at IL 31 to the signal at IL 173 - if the weather is really nice, this stretch could be a real headache, with traffic backing up from the signal at IL 173 back south to near the railroad overpass.  If this section becomes too much to endure, the best alternative seems to be Tyron Grove Road (the straight ahead option at IL 31 where WB US 12 turns right) to Keystone Road, north on Keystone Road into Wisconsin, then use County B back to US 12.

I don't recall any problems in Wisconsin beyond a long 50 mph section after the end of the freeway, and the slow sections (as in low speed limits, not congestion) through Fort Atkinson and Cambridge that seem to drag on


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